Nike's ‘Considered Design' programme, aims to create performance products that minimise environmental impact by reducing waste during the design and development process, use environmentally preferred materials, and eliminate toxics. To make the kits, Nike uses discarded water bottles destined for landfill sites in Japan and Taiwan, where they can take up to 500 years to decompose. This saves precious raw materials and reduces energy consumption by up to 30% compared to conventional fabrics.
The bottles are placed in a large washing machine to clean them and get rid of labels before they are chopped into tiny flakes and melted down into a yarn that is ultimately spun to make the fabric for the jerseys and shorts. Use of recycled polyester across its new range of club kits means Nike has saved nearly 13 million plastic water bottles, a total of around 254,000 kg of polyester waste - enough to cover more than 29 football pitches, and to stretch over 3,000 kilometres if laid out end-to-end.
The process is used for all shirts, whether worn by the players or available to fans. Other Nike kits using recycled materials include the World Cup shirts worn by Brazil, Portugal, The Netherlands, USA and Australia.