Mankind is relentlessly exploiting the raw material base of this world to satisfy the constant need for newness. New products, new technologies, new innovations. At the same time, the population is growing and flocking to mega-cities. Whilst these cities generate creativity and progress, urban areas can also generate… waste. In our world too, almost 30% of all material used in sportswear production is wasted, most ending up in landfills.
It’s pretty obvious that we are burning the candle at both ends. What if we could put an end to both the exploitation of raw materials and the increase in waste by shopping more? Yes, you read right. In the not-so-distant future, this might be the case when it comes to sporting goods.
SO WHERE ARE YOUR FOOTBALL BOOTS GOING TO END UP?
adidas will be leading a cross-industry WRAP Consortium project, known as Sport Infinity, researching into a new breed of fully recyclable sporting goods. Funded by the European Commission (DG Research, Industrial Technologies, Materials Unit), the project aims to identify and develop innovative recyclable materials which will enable the automatic production of easily customisable sporting goods, allowing greater design freedom. So every gram of a football boot could be broken down and recycled into a 3-D shapeable material for the next creator to mould into their dream product without the use of adhesives.
Sport Infinity has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme 2014-2018 under grant agreement No 645987. It falls within ‘Materials solutions for use in the creative industry sector’.
Following the announcement of SPEEDFACTORY and our partnership with Parley for the Oceans, 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.
Messi’s boots today, recycled into yours tomorrow
Just watched Messi score that winning goal? Imagine this; your next football boot purchase could actually contain material from that very same boot. And when you are ready for something new, you don’t throw your boot away, but bring it right back to be broken down and used as material for a brand new product.
It’s all about the consumer
The Sport Infinity process provides great design and personalisation freedom to creators.With the automation and customisation opportunities, any sports fan can now become a product designer. The consumer can easily decide the colours and functionality of their product and co-create with adidas to keep up with the latest trends or to react to on-pitch needs.
‘Made in Anywhere’
The new manufacturing method which will be piloted in Europe at OECHSLER in Ansbach (Germany) allows us to bring production to where the design happens and, more importantly, to where the consumers are. Say hello to customisable production, ranging from modular factories to in-store personalisation.
Open Source is one of the key strategic choices to help the adidas Group in Creating the New. Simply put, it allows people to create with you. The Consortium involves partners from multiple disciplines and expertise coming from five EU countries. Over the next three years, adidas will partner with:
- BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany
- KISKA GmbH, Anif-Salzburg, Austria
- FILL Gesellschaft m.b.H., Gurten, Austria
- Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen, Germany
- OECHSLER AG, Ansbach, Germany
- University of Leeds, Centre for Technical Textiles (CTT), Leeds, UK
- Association CETI (Centre Européen des Textiles Innovants), Tourcoing, France
- Hypercliq E.E., Athens, Greece
- SportsMethod Ltd., Esher, UK
BASF is delighted to join several multinational and highly ranked partners in the European Commission funded project under the leading role of adidas. Developing new and disruptive technologies based on recycled chemistry, in order to drive new sportswear designs, is a perfect fit for us. Sustainability is integral to our ‘We create chemistry’ strategy and thus one of the main growth drivers for our business.
The project was kicked off in June 2015 and will span over a period of three years. It focuses on consumer-driven design as well as research & development of materials and manufacturing processes for innovative product solutions. The Sport Infinity products will not be commercialised within the duration of the three years, however the potential for commercialisation right after the end of the project is great.
This is a game-changing development for football fans. 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 consumer’s most personal specifications.