Reducing virgin plastic waste has been one of the most popular corporate sustainability efforts made by public companies in recent years.
Here's a look at some of the biggest steps companies are taking to save the planet and oceans from unnecessary waste.
Adidas AG (ADR) (OTC: ADDYY) has long been recognized as a leader in corporate sustainability and has announced its plan to eliminate virgin plastic use from its products by 2024.
The company also partnered with Parley for the Oceans in 2015, an environmental organization that raises awareness for the beauty and fragility of the oceans and enacts strategies to end their destruction.
Adidas introduced its collaboration with Parley through footwear made with recycled ocean plastic, and later unveiled a clothing line utilizing the same materials.
In 2019, the company said it will produce 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic.
Earlier this year, Adidas took steps further to create a more sustainable future through its FutureCraft.Loop shoe, a running shoe with a "closed loop" or circular manufacturing model.
“Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” said Eric Liedtke, an executive board member at Adidas responsible for global brands.
“What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away — except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon, or oceans filled with plastic waste. The next step is to end the concept of 'waste' entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.”
Each component of the shoe is made from 100% reusable TPU, and instead of throwing the shoes away, customers can send them back to Adidas, where the materials are recycled for the next iteration, with zero waste and nothing thrown away.
Bottled water has long been one of the biggest offenders and has often been used as the textbook example of unnecessary waste.
The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE: KO) has announced this week that it will introduce Dasani water in aluminum cans and bottles in the fall in the Northeast and expand to other regions in 2020.
The company also announced it will introduce a new plastic bottle using 50% recycled plastic to reduce the amount of virgin plastic it is using.
With an 8.5% share of the bottled water market, the move will likely go a long way in reducing waste.
“We are working diligently to continually reduce our overall environmental footprint through smarter package design and procurement of recycled and renewable materials while continuing to deliver exceptional consumer experiences,” said Sneha Shah, group director of packaging innovation at Coca-Cola North America, said in a statement.
PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP) also announced a plan to introduce Aquafina in aluminum cans.
The company said the move, which goes into effect next year, will remove 8,000 metric tons of virgin plastic waste and nearly 11,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
“As one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, we recognize the significant role PepsiCo can play in helping to change the way society makes, uses and disposes of plastics,” PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement.
“We are doing our part to address the issue head on by reducing, recycling and reinventing our packaging to make it more sustainable, and we won’t stop until we live in a world where plastics are renewed and reused.”
The decision is a part of the company’s greater goal to use nothing but recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025.
In 2018, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced it would eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated stores by making straw-less lids or alternative material straw options available.
The company said the move will eliminate over 1 billion plastic straws per year from its stores.
The announcement made such a big splash that several others followed suit, including Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H), Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), Hilton Hotels Corporation (NYSE: HLT), American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK), SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS) and Royal Carribbean Cruise Ltd (NYSE: RCL).
Earlier in the year, Kroger Co (NYSE: KR), the largest U.S. grocery chain, announced it will phase out the use of plastic bags in its stores by 2025.
The company, which serves almost 9 million customers per day across two dozen different grocery chains, said it orders a whopping 6 billion bags each year.
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Photo courtesy of Adidas.
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