Adidas Sold One Million Shoes Made from Ocean Plastic in 2017

German sportswear giant Adidas helped keep plastic out of the mouths of fish and off the world’s beaches in 2017 by selling 1 million shoes made from ocean plastic. [1]

Last year, Adidas teamed up with environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans to create its UltraBoost shoe, made from plastic found in the ocean, and introduced 3 new versions of the footwear.

At the time, Adidas said its goal was to create a million pairs of UltraBoost shoes.

Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said:

“We last year sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic.”

Each UltraBoost shoe reuses 11 plastic bottles.

For this year’s Earth Day weekend, Adidas once again partnered up with Parley, this time to “upcycle” reclaimed ocean plastics into limited-edition Major League Soccer (MLS) uniforms. All 23 MLS teams donated the uniforms that weekend for the campaign, dubbed “A World Without Plastic Pollution.” Each jersey is made from 13 recycled plastic bottles and will be available to purchase on the Adidas and MLS online stores. [2]

What’s more, this past July the global sportswear maker said that it will commit to using only recycled plastic by 2024. According to CNN:

“Adidas … also said it would stop using virgin plastic in its offices, retail outlets, warehouses and distribution centers, a move that would save an estimated 40 tons of plastic per year, starting in 2018.”

The company joins numerous other companies looking to make the world more ‘green’ by eliminating plastics, including:

  • Supermarket chain Kroger, which announced August 23 that the supermarket chain will phase-out plastic bags from all of its stores by 2025.
  • Among others

Sources:

[1] CNBC

[2] AdWeek

Featured image credit: Adidas

Plastic Straws, Utensils to Be Banned in Seattle Restaurants in 2018

Plastic utensils are convenient and straws are fun for kids, but much of that plastic eventually winds up in a landfill or as litter. The environment is paying dearly for the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year, and if changes aren’t made, and fast, the problem is only going to get worse. The city of Seattle, Washington, has already banned single-use plastic bags in an effort to reduce plastic pollution, and on July 1, 2018, a new ban on plastic straws and utensils at restaurants will go into effect. [1] [2]

The city is instead making a push to allow only compostable or paper utensils and straws. [1]

Sego Jackson, the strategic advisor for Waste Prevention and Product Stewardship for Seattle Public Utilities, said:

“As of July 1, 2018, food services businesses should not be providing plastic straws or utensils. What they should be providing are compostable straws or compostable utensils. But they also might be providing durables, reusables, or encouraging you to skip the straw altogether.” [2]

The Office of the City Clerk says the ordinance passed the full city council in 2008. However, the exception has been in place since 2010. Restaurants will be forced to abide by the ordinance if the exception is not renewed. Officials say the decree is necessary because disposable food service ware is a burden to Seattle’s solid waste disposal system. [1]

Despite the ordinance’s 7-year existence, efforts to ban disposable plastic food service stalled because there were no viable compostable alternatives at the time. [2]

Read: Edible Silverware Could Cut Down on Plastic Waste and Pollution

Jackson said:

“Early on there weren’t many compostable options,” he explained. “And some of the options didn’t perform well or compost well. That’s all changed now.”[3]

Only restaurants will be affected by the ban. Plastic straws and utensils will still be available for purchase at city grocery stores.

Restaurants that fail to abide by the decree will first receive a warning. If the establishments continue to use plastic food service ware, they could be slapped with hefty fines.

Many dining establishments have decided not to wait until 2018 to start making changes. A campaign called “Strawless in Seattle” is planned for September, according to Jillian Henze, of the Seattle Restaurant Association. Up to 500 local groups and restaurants will cease using straws and disposable utensils for the month.

Sources:

[1] The New York Times

[2] KIRO

[3] EcoWatch


Storable Food


Professor: Here is Why Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs are Causing Headaches

A professor of psychiatry at the University of Essex in the U.K. claims LED light bulbs, which have become commonplace since the federal government began to steer buyers away from incandescent bulbs in 2007, are causing headaches, pain, and dizziness. [1]

Arnold Wilkins says LED lights dim by 100%, which means they turn on and off hundreds of times a second. Most people don’t notice the constant flickering, but in some people, it can cause nasty symptoms within just 20 minutes of turning them on.  [1] [2]

Wilkins says:

“We know from earlier work on fluorescent lighting that even though the flicker is too fast to be visible, it remains a likely health hazard. In 1989, my colleagues and I compared fluorescent lighting that flickered 100 times a second with lights that appeared the same but didn’t flicker. We found that office workers were half as likely on average to experience headaches under the non-flickering lights.

No similar study has yet been performed for LED lights. But because LED flickering is even more pronounced, with the light dimming by 100% rather than the roughly 35% of fluorescent lamps, there’s a chance that LEDs could be even more likely to cause headaches. At best, it’s likely to put some people off using LED bulbs because of the annoying, distracting effect of the flickering, which we know can be detected during saccades.” [1]

Source: Energy Gain UK

The flickering can cause headaches, pain, and dizziness by disrupting movement control of the eyes, which forces the brain to work harder. Previous research suggested that flickering LED bulbs may double a person’s chances of developing a headache. [2]

Wilkins says that many people have started avoiding purchasing the lights because of the side effects.

“People do not like the flicker, it can make them feel dizzy and unwell after about 20 minutes, and can produce disturbing anomalies of perception, such as seeing multiple images of the lamp, every time you move your eyes rapidly.”

In 2007, under the Obama administration, Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act, a sweeping reform bill that the federal government used to phase out most incandescent light bulbs. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush. [1]

Ten years later, LED bulbs are the most popular alternative to traditional light bulbs. According to a June 2016 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, LED-related revenue matched revenue from traditional lights that year.

General Electric estimates at least 50% of all residential lights will be LEDs by 2020.

If the LED lights in your house are making you feel sick, you can purchase a more expensive lamp with a direct current versus an alternating current so that the light remains constant. However, the lamp’s components may not last very long. [2]

Sources:

[1] The Blaze

[2] Daily Mail

Energy Gain UK


Storable Food


These Shoes are Made of Algae, and They Help Clean This Lake in China

More than 2 million people were left scrambling for safe drinking water after China’s Lake Taihu exploded with algae a decade ago, and ever since then, the government has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year trying to solve the problem. One of the most awe-inspiring solutions involves harvesting algae from Lake Taihu before it spreads too far, and turning it into a flexible, rubbery material that is now being used to make shoes. [1]

Lake Taihu has been mostly famous for its out-of-control algae problem over the last 20 years. The water contains a noxious mixture of billions of tons of wastewater, animal waste, and garbage which has flowed unconstrained due to weak regulations. The body of water is intended to provide 30 million people with drinking water, but the blue-green algae kills marine life, and is hard to filter out. [2]

It was in 2007 when nearly 1/3 of the lake was covered in algae, and the government suspended water collection from Taihu, limiting how much bottled water could cost because of price-gouging. Officials also shut down factories surrounding the lake to stem the pollution.

Turning the Algae into Bio-Plastic

A company called Bloom is the creator of a mobile platform which pulls algae from the lake, purifies the water, returns it to the lake, and then turns the algae into a tiny pellet that can be used like a plastic. The goal of Bloom’s founder, Rob Falken, is to replace conventional plastic products, which are usually made from petroleum-based pellets.

Source: Eco Watch

Falken said:

“The end goal is to remove as much of the petroleum feedstock as possible. When you take a waste stream from nature—there naturally but there in such mass because of manmade inputs—we can take that feedstock, that problem, and functionalize it into usable goods that are the exact same quality, indistinguishable, from the status quo that’s out there today.”

The mobile platform uses gentle suction to draw the algae, while filters prevent marine life from being harmed in the process. The harvester also pulls nitrogen and phosphorus from the water, which makes it harder for algae blooms to flourish. Millions of pounds of algae have been pulled from Lake Taihu by Bloom.

Bloom supplies the plastic-like pellets to Vivobarefoot, which turns the pellets into its water-resistant Ultra III shoes. Currently, the shoes are made from petroleum-based ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). In July 2017, Vivobarefoot will launch a version that is a blend of algae and EVA, instead. One pair of shoes requires cleaning 57 gallons of water. [1]

Source: Fast Company

The current material uses 40% algae and 60% EVA, but Bloom is working on materials that use more algae.

Algae blooms, which thrive in warm water with high carbon concentrations, are becoming a serious problem all over the world due to climate change. In the United States, algae led Florida to declare a state of emergency in 2016 when it spread from Lake Okeechobee to nearby beaches, killing manatees and other aquatic life.

A toxic algae bloom delayed California’s 2015 crabbing season. And in 2014, an algae bloom in the Ohio River in Ohio made drinking water temporarily unsafe for half a million people in Toledo.

The Ultra III shoes could prove to be an effective method of stomping out both petroleum-based products and algae blooms.

Falken says:

“We’ve already got more algae than we’ll ever need. Two companies are helping to clean China’s Lake Taihu by pulling algae from the water, transforming it into pellets, and using those pellets to make shoes.” [2]

Sources:

[1] Fast Company

[2] Eco Watch


Storable Food