Nike has made a leap forward in the public presentation of recycled PET by providing World Cup teams with jerseys made from recycled bottles. Five-time winners Brazil, along with Portugal and the Netherlands, will for the first time be clad in shirts made from recycled polyester in a bid to make the tournament more eco-friendly.
Footballing giants like five-time world champions Brazil and the Netherlands, together with the United States, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Slovenia are wearing the shirts made from recycled PET to tell the world that it is the best way to end its adverse environmental impact. Famous names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Robinho and Ji-Sung Park, will be wearing these environmentally friendly jerseys.
It takes up to eight recycled plastic bottles to make one shirt, using bottles from Japanese and Taiwanese landfills and melting them down before processing them into fabric. About 184 bottles are being used up per team altogether. Nike claims the process cuts energy use by 30% compared with newly manufactured polyester.
The jerseys being worn on the pitch and being sold to fans have helped in diverting 13 million plastic bottles, totaling nearly 254,000kg of polyester waste, from landfill sites. This would cover more than 29 football pitches and if laid end-to-end would cover more than 3,000km, which is more than the entire coastline of South Africa.
Nike is not the first apparel firm to make clothes from old plastic. Sainsbury's has previously sold skirts, trousers and shirts made from recycled plastic bags under its Tu brand, while M&S and BHS started stocking school uniforms made from recycled polyester in 2007. Clothing brands such as Howies and Patagonia have also sold recycled plastic garments for years.