Adidas say goodbye to normal recycling with “Infinity-Cycling”

Move out of the way normal recycling, Adidas has invented a new and more efficient way of recycling, kind of…

Your boot could be made out of a swatch of material from Lionel Messi’s boot with Adidas’ leading a industry-wide research program into the development of ‘super material’.

In identifying new ways of recycling, the project known as Sport Infinity will look at how sporting goods can be broken down and recycled to produce new products. Funded by the European Commission, the project will, according to Adidas, allow creators more freedom in designing products using recycled materials.

The 3 year research program will also look to employ people from various industries to work with the new ‘super material’ in attempt to turn every gram of material used in a football boot into material for the next product without the use of adhesives.

With almost 30% of all materials used in sportswear production ending up in landfills, it was inevitable that new methods of recycling would be high on sportswear giants’ agendas. And with the tagline that it could be the consumer that ends up with a swatch of material from Lionel Messi’s football boots, it’s likely to be a step that Adidas refer to frequently as a sign they’re fulfilling their corporate social responsibility.

Executive Board Member of Global Operations at the Adidas Group suggested that it was a step to further Adidas’ commitment to recycling.

Sport Infinity is the next step in our commitment to innovation and sustainability. This project will close the sustainability loop, creating a high-performance product that can always be recycled.

While the Vice President of Technology and Innovation at and the project leader Adidas Gerd Manz went one step further and ambitiously suggested that the end-life of a football boot will translate into a brand new boot.

Over the next three years, Sport Infinity aims to end the days of throwing away football boots.  Instead, every pair of boots is not just recycled but reimagined to the customer’s most personal specifications.

Adidas isn’t the first brand to attempt to implement a recycling program like this with other big sports brands going down this track. Nike has recycled shoes since the 90s, however Greenpeace accused them of using green marketing to look more environmentally friendly than they actually are.

Despite experiencing some progress with the technology, it’s not yet complete. The first prototype product developed had an upper made from waste plastic and fishing net fibers but the sole was still made from new plastic. With a further three years until they have to perfect the development, it’s a good start for the sports apparel giant.


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Matt Tewhatu
Matt Tewhatu 155 posts

Matt is the editor of Digital Sport and Chief of Snack Media's rugby division and has a journalistic background both here in UK, Australia and in his native New Zealand. Follow him on Twitter @mtewhatu

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