In the case of this jacket, the shell, Primaloft padding, and sewing thread are all made from Parley for the oceans“Polyester, a material made from plastic collected on beaches and coasts. All the attachment to the jacket is done using polyester suspenders. No dye or finish is used. The only burst of color is the pale yellow of the burnt polyester where the Terrex logo has been laser cut into the collar. In theory, you could put the whole jacket in a chemical polyester recycling device, which would melt it and expel pure white polyester fiber.
The question is whether this polyester recycling machine can be built on a large scale.
While clothing and accessories made from recycled water bottles have proliferated, you won’t find a fashion product made from recycled polyester in any store. A Japanese supplier used to take old Patagonia fleeces and recycle them into fresh polyester, but the cost was declared “prohibitive” compared to virgin polyester. EVRNU, a startup that counts Adidas as one of its leading partners, has developed a garment-to-garment recycling process, but the startup is currently focusing on cotton recycling and has not worked with Adidas for this project.
Maybe Adidas knows something about polyester recycling that the rest of us don’t, but the company wouldn’t share any details of the process with me. I asked where Parley for the Oceans collected the ocean-related plastic. (Back when he launched his first Parley sneaker, the plastic came from the Maldives, the island nation besieged by ocean plastic.) I asked where the recycled polyester is made, where the jacket will go for recycling, how much. how many times could it be looped through the system before it degrades, and how recycled polyester – from bottles or used polyester – compares in price to virgin polyester. Freundorfer did not know. “This is a first concept, and we don’t yet have concrete information on how often you might recycle the product,” she says.
I followed the company directly, but they answered all of these questions, sending me a statement saying, “We have a long-standing network of research and supply chain partners like PrimaLoft in many countries around the world. world. We have worked with our suppliers to create the structures to process recycled materials on a large scale. “
It should be noted here that the second generation of Future.Craft Loop sneakers only contains 5 to 10 percent first generation recycled material, for performance reasons.
There is also the question of how Adidas will collect its used clothes for recycling in this brave, new and circular world. “We are looking to find the best way to do it,” says Freundorfer. She mentioned QR codes that link to information about the return, the provision of shipping labels to customers, and the potential reward of participating customers with gift cards or exclusive content. “And then it can be sent to these reverse logistics networks that we’re developing right now,” she says.
Adidas has a tough road ahead in this regard. Eileen Fisher, who is among the industry’s most loyal customers and hands out gift cards for every coin someone brings, managed to collect only 5 percent of what it produces in a given year.
Design-wise, I liked the anorak and was sad when it came time to return it. It was comfortable and warm, like hugging. The pockets were deep enough to hold an entire insulated water bottle for a hike. Someone saw my photo on Instagram and said I looked like a character from Star Wars. Of course, the jacket stained quickly due to the lack of stain repellency, which is almost always achieved through a toxic PFAS coating, so good riddance. The straps for the pockets and for tightening the collar required a belt-like threading, so were too difficult for me to bother closing them. And as soon as the weather went above 45 degrees, I stopped wearing it – I couldn’t undo it for ventilation when I got overheated. (Fruendorfer says that for the 2022 commercial release, Adidas plans to add recycled zippers and snaps made from the same material as the jacket.)
Adidas says that with the Future.Craft Loop Anorak, it is committed to “ending plastic waste”. It’s probably swagger that catches the attention of the marketing team. Or perhaps the optimism of a company based in Germany, a country with a recycling fetish, driven by policies that hold companies accountable for the proper disposal of their products.