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The Green Life: Nike Scores with Recycled World Cup Soccer Jerseys

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March 09, 2010

Nike Scores with Recycled World Cup Soccer Jerseys

Soccer players There’s nothing inherently green about a month-long sports competition that requires participants and spectators to fly in from all over the planet, as is the case for the FIFA World Cup, which will be held in South Africa this June.

Nike is making efforts, though, to push the World Cup in a more sustainable direction. The company sponsors several teams (including the Americans) and will be outfitting their players with jerseys made from recycled plastic water bottles. Soccer uniforms are typically made of polyester, which is a petroleum product, but manufacturing the recycled version burns 30 percent less energy than making new fabric. The plastic bottles are rescued from landfills in Japan and Taiwan, and only eight bottles are needed to make each jersey. For a pretty penny, fans will be able to purchase souvenir versions of their favorite team's shirt.

This is only a small step for a giant multinational corporation, especially since only a handful of participating teams will be wearing recycled jerseys. But it will bring some much-needed publicity to the advantages of recycled fabric. We hope that Nike extends recycled materials to all their products and prompts other athletic-wear companies to do the same.

--Sophie Matson

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