In 2013, surf photographer Zak Noyle captured a series of snapshots showing surfers in Indonesia surrounded by rubbish. Even when getting barrelled chunks of plastic would encircle the surfers, providing a visual representation of how severely polluted our oceans are. These photographs eventually went viral, resulting in stories on mainstream publications across the world.
Even earlier than this series of poignant photographs, videos had been released about the Pacific trash vortex, which is essentially an enormous mass of waste endlessly swirling around the ocean.
Now, in response to growing concern about this issue, Adidas has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Parley for the Oceans to develop a pair of sneakers made entirely out of waste collected from the ocean. And the prototype for these shoes was recently unveiled at a speaking event.
As the release explains: "The UNxParley event included an intimate press gathering where adidas group executive board member responsible for global brands Eric Liedtke and Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch talked about the partnership and showcased a unique prototype product. Adidas created a world first with a shoe upper made entirely of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. Parley’s partner organisation Sea Shepherd retrieved the nets after a 110-day expedition tracking an illegal poaching vessel, which culminated off the coast of West Africa."
Adidas isn't the only organisation working to raise awareness to the problem of plastic. Hallenstein Brothers's Ekocycle range of suits are made entirely out of recycled bottles, and Nike also produced football shirts through a similar approach.
In addition to these efforts, not-for-profit organisation The Ocean Cleanup Project has also looking into ways of removing as much of the rubbish accumulated in the ocean as possible.