Sports giant Adidas has created its first football pitch made from plastic bottles. The field uses 1.8 million bottles found at beaches, coastal communities, shorelines and remote islands around the local area. This equates to almost 40,000 pounds of plastic waste. Adidas made the pitch with the goal of preventing tonnes of plastic waste from entering and polluting our ocean. The brand has been working with a nonprofit organisation called Parley since 2016 who aim to end the destruction of the ocean. Adidas donated the pitch to Edison High School in Miami which will be used by American football players. The team and local community will enjoy playing knowing their field is sustainable and helped to reduce plastic pollution.

How is the football field made?

Football pitches are typically made from an artificial turf comprised of synthetic fibres that mimic blades of grass. Rubber and sand are paired with the synthetic grass to add movement and padding to the turf. A large amount of new plastic is produced for artificial grass which releases toxins and consumes a lot of energy. Growing fresh grass would be the obvious way to create a sustainable field. But regular use, mud and adverse weather can result in unplayable conditions. Artificial grass has become an attractive alternative that doesn’t require as much upkeep and can reduce maintenance costs.

In a similar method used by Pro Environmental, the plastic sourced by Adidas was washed and treated before use on the field. The brand shredded the plastic and formed it into small pellets to produce infill. The infill made from recycled plastic bottles is a durable alternative that allows players to gain more traction during sharp turns. The turf also provides improved cushioning when players fall or dive to the ground to help prevent injury.

How will it help the environment?

Cameron Collins, the North American director of football for Adidas stated: “We believe that through sport we have the power to change lives, and this field is a demonstration of our taking action on that belief. More than a place for these young athletes to play, it’s a reminder of our collective responsibility to end plastic waste.” This isn’t the first move towards sustainability from Adidas. The brand has created a range of shoes and clothing made from recycled plastic. Adidas aims to be rid of new polyester by 2024.

The movement from Adidas is a big step in the right direction towards sustainable solutions. Using existing sources of plastic reduces the amount of new plastic that is produced. Finding alternative uses for recycled plastic helps to reduce our energy and water consumption significantly. Here’s hoping other brands with mainstream power like Adidas will commit to finding ways to reduce plastic waste and work towards a sustainable environment.

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