Plastic Bottle Initiative Helping to Green Athletic Facilities

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For years, Americans have been encouraged to decrease our consumption of bottled water and use reusable beverage containers, cutting down on the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. Despite the efforts of various sustainability campaigns, the Beverage Marketing Corporation reported that bottled water consumption reached an all-time high in 2012 when Americans consumed 9.7 million gallons of water, 65 percent of that in the form of single-use disposable bottles.

As bottled beverage consumption increases, so does the number of eco-conscious manufacturers looking to do something about the amassing amount of recyclable plastics. Apparel made from recycled bottles has boomed in recent years, with everything from basic T-shirts to high-performance athletic uniforms touting various percentages of recycled plastic bottles. Nike — which also recycles athletic shoes and rubber waste to create athletic fields and flooring, running tracks, playgrounds and more through its Nike Grind program — made a splash at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, outfitting athletes from 17 countries in uniforms made from recycled plastic. Under Armour and adidas have their own athletic lines made with recycled materials, the latter recently partnering with musician Pharrell Williams on a line created from plastic debris pulled from the ocean. Coca-Cola has even attempted to get in on the market with its Drink2Wear T-shirt line.

Even with the growing interest and advancements in repurposed fabric, there still is room to make a bigger impact — the average shirt diverts only 15 to 20 bottles from the landfill.

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