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Adidas aims to axe virgin polyester by 2024

Adidas is aiming to use only recycled plastics for all of its footwear and clothing by 2024, its head of global brands Eric Liedtke has said.

The sportswear giant estimates that polyester is used for around half of the 920 million individual items it sells.

Liedtke told the Financial Times that the company’s goal is to “get rid of virgin polyester overall by 2024”. He said the huge volumes Adidas produces means it cannot make the transition overnight.

Recycled polyester is 10-20% more expensive than virgin materials and Liedtke said the price difference is one of the main reasons the group will take six years to be entirely reliant on recycled plastic.

“We have to make sure we take right-sized bites so that we can maintain our current margin structure,” he told the newspaper. “We can absorb some costs every year, but we could not absorb it all in one year.”

Adidas made one million pairs of its UltraBoost running shoes from ocean-based recycled plastic and is targeting 11 million next year, which represents just 3% of its total shoe production.

Drapers has contacted Adidas for comment.

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