With athletes sleeping on cardboard beds and the medals being made from recycled electronics, recycling is the theme of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Nike is ready to join in the movement, making Team USA 2020 Olympic Winners' outfits from recycled materials almost completely. The all-white uniforms are made of 100% recycled materials, while the multicolored sneakers are 75% recycled.
"For us it's not an either-or proposition, it's an and. Our athletes expect and are going to have the highest-quality performance gear — and we are going to do it sustainably," Seana Hannah, Nike's vice president of sustainable innovation, told Vogue. The eco-friendly "Medal Stand" collection will feature minimalistic, all-white tracksuits with only two small logos on the front. Nike's iconic Windrunner jacket has been re-designed in a kimono style with futuristic airflow holes. On the back is a large stamp of the national team '80s-esque logo. The collection will also feature the specially-developed Air VaporMax sneaker. The shoe's colorful, textured knit is inspired by views of landfills from a distance.
The clothing is made from recycled rubber, nylon, and polyester — and ground-up sneakers. The move comes from Nike's plan outlined Sept. 2019 to operate its "owned-and-operated facilities with 100% renewable energy by 2025" and to cut its carbon emissions and waste. More specifically, the brand plans to "reduce carbon emissions across its global supply chain by 30 percent by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015," according to its "Move to Zero" plan.
Alongside the collection for the Olympic athletes, Nike is dropping a "Move to Zero" collection. From sports bras to jackets to sneakers , you can work out in items made out of almost entirely recycled content and organic cotton. The release date for this collection hasn't been revealed yet.
The fashion industry has long been one of the most polluting industries in the world, and sustainability has become a hot, and necessary, topic. Gen Zers especially have been shown to care about a brand's environmental impact. In a study of over 1,000 individuals by First Insight, 73% of Gen Z respondents said they were willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. So, Nike is listening. I'm no Olympic athlete, but knowing my work out clothes are keeping Mother Earth clean makes me want to run around the house.