Adidas pledges to axe “virgin” plastics by 2024

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Adidas has announced plans for a major sustainability drive which will see all its clothes and shoes use only recycled polyester over the next six years.

According to the Financial Times, the world’s second largest sportswear retailer is aiming to “get rid of virgin polyester by 2024”.

Polyester is understood to currently make up 50 per cent of the material used across Adidas entire product range, a total of 920 million individual items.

Though Adidas’ head of global brands Eric Liedtke cautioned that the immense numbers meant “we cannot make the transition overnight”, the brand expects to sell five million recycled trainers this year, rising to 11 million in 2019 representing three per cent of its annual footwear production.

The recycled polyester is currently around 10 – 20 per cent more expensive, but experts believe the price gap between virgin and recycled plastics will soon close as more companies adopt renewable materials.

“We have to make sure we take right-sized bites so that we can maintain our current margin structure,” Liedtke added.

“We can absorb some costs every year, but we could not absorb it all in one year.”

The scheme was praised by environmental groups, with the World Wildlife Fund’s director Erin Simon saying he was “happy to see that industry leaders like Adidas are working towards change, but we need to continue.”

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