We all know that the world is under stress from climate change and we get told what not to do, but, due to the complex nature of the problem, many of us suffer from climate anxiety and find it hard to take that step.
At Play It Green, we do things differently. We like to focus on the positives and the can-do’s to empower our members and their close ones to create change positively.
With that in mind, here are three fantastic sustainability news stories from around the world that will give you hope for a better future!
Nike Rethinks Manufacturing to Make Low Carbon Sweatshirt
Nike decided to re-evaluate apparel manufacturing five years ago and asked the question: “What would it be like if it were entirely created with sustainability in mind?”
“We endeavoured to start from scratch, bare-bones, nothing,” said Carmen Zolman, the Vice President of Innovation Apparel Design at Nike.
“And then make every decision as if we were building apparel from the start with sustainability in mind, versus taking existing things and trying to make them more sustainable.”
Nike looked at the process by which cloth is manufactured as well as aspects like materials and colours that were required, but currently increased a product’s footprint.
Making material for knitting or weaving typically entails several steps such as converting the raw material into a fibre, spinning it into yarn, knitting or weaving, and finishing, all of which use energy and produce waste.
However, the business has now created a new, more straightforward procedure—which it calls ‘Nike Forward’ —to transform fibre into a textile with a lower carbon footprint.
The innovation team at Nike looked to other sectors for ideas.
They found the technique of “needle punching” which is used to create an N95 face mask. (Felt is frequently manufactured in the same manner.)
The group discovered that a similar procedure could produce fabric for clothing and developed a new process which also makes recycling the materials much simpler.
Nike Forward’s debut product, a grey hoodie goes on sale on September 22.
It is made without zippers or other unnecessary components so that when it wears out, it can simply be torn up and the fibre may be used again.
This is a great example of innovative thinking by Nike, producing a product that meets the needs of the consumer, whilst meeting their responsibilities to our planet – let’s hope this scales significantly now!
Nike Forward more sustainable top (c) Nike 2022
New Brand, Sokito Champions Eco-Friendly Football Boots
One start-up is attempting to jumpstart the football boots sector while the main players are merely experimenting with sustainable designs.
Adidas unveiled their first-ever vegan football boot before the end of 2021.
Paul Pogba provided feedback for the boot’s collaboration with Stella McCartney, which complies with the fashion designer’s exacting sustainability requirements.
Since then, PUMA used recycled plastics for its First Mile collection, Nike introduced the Vapor Next Nature, its most sustainable Mercurial yet, and Adidas celebrated “Earth Day” with a new take on its Gamemode silhouette.
Perhaps the football industry is starting to take sustainability seriously!
It’s not just the big boys that are leading the transition to greener football boots; a new start-up is attempting to influence change in the sector.
“The football boot industry needs to start having a more open conversation around sustainability,” said Jake Hardy, the founder of Sokito, a new eco-boot brand.
“We need to be talking about extending the life cycle of boots and raising awareness around the environmental impact of different materials used in boots today.”
On a trip to Vietnam, where he observed tailors creating made-to-measure footwear out of leftovers from large factories, Hardy decided to start Sokito.
Hardy was inspired by this and used his prior knowledge of operating a business that repaired football boots to further his cause.
Even though making football boots of a professional calibre is a whole different task, Hardy utilises both of these elements.
Sokito has chosen a makeup that incorporates Pebax, a bean-derived polymer, and Tencel, a material made from waste paper, coupled with discarded nylon and recovered carpet, plastic, and rubber.
This composition means that the boots all contain at least 56% eco materials (69% in Sokito’s special models).
This is certainly another step in the right direction when research shows that 12.5 million pairs of boots head to landfill in the US and EU each year.
German Train Line Switching to Hydrogen
Our final story comes from Germany where a local rail service near Hamburg will switch to running only hydrogen-powered trains, with a fleet of 14 built by the French company Alstom.
Stephan Weil, the state premier of Lower Saxony, attended a ceremony in Bremervörde last Wednesday to officially open the all-hydrogen line.
In 2018, the new type of train underwent its first commercial test on the route connecting Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde, and Buxtehude.
Since then, some hydrogen locomotives have been operating on the about 100-kilometre (almost 60-mile) route, but in addition to the diesel-powered trains that did the majority of the work.
“As a renewable energy state, we mark another milestone on the road towards climate neutrality in our transport sector.” Said Stephan Weil.
The project’s developers, Alstom, claim that it will reduce annual CO2 emissions by more than 4,000 tonnes every year.
Developers hope that hydrogen trains could provide a zero-emissions solution for rail travel on lines that are still using diesel, which powers around one-fifth of train journeys in Germany.
Eventually, it is estimated that in Germany alone “between 2,500 and 3,000 diesel trains could be replaced by hydrogen models.”
The benefit of hydrogen trains is that extra infrastructure is not needed for the trains to run on existing lines – no power is required, simply hydrogen as a fuel source.
It is also the most available element on the planet and thus should never run out.
The only by-product of this fuel type is water and oxygen – neither of which can damage the environment, unlike diesel trains which emit nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and many more harmful by-products of burning fossil fuels.
Hydrogen trains sound a lot better than the alternative and hopefully, more and more companies across Germany and the world will take this next step to a more sustainable future.
That’s it for this week – three great news stories from fashion, sports and transportation that should give you hope and help you see that the solutions to the climate issues we face are being worked on by our global community, which is made up of individuals just like you!