Yarn, soles and basketball courts are a few examples of the many products Nike creates by transforming plastic bottles, manufacturing scraps and used product into new materials (such as Nike Grind) — emblematic of Nike’s 30-year commitment to holistic sustainability, which is detailed in the latest Sustainable Business Report. In fact, 75 percent of all Nike shoes and apparel now contain some recycled material.
Did you know?
No one uses more recycled polyester in the industry than Nike.
Beyond reusing, Nike also manufactures some of its most iconic products in a sustainable way. In fact, Air is one of Nike’s most sustainable innovations.
Nike introduced the Air unit in 1979. Today, the technology consists of pressurized air (nitrogen) inside a tough, yet flexible bag (called a Nike Air sole unit) that sits in the midsole beneath the heel, forefoot or both to provide the sensation of walking or running on air. The limits of this technology are now being pushed by more sustainable materials, computational design and advanced manufacturing tools. The goals: make it lighter and stronger and minimize Nike’s impact by using more recycled materials.
FIVE AIR SUSTAINABILITY FACTS
- A dye-coloring process for Air soles allows 99% of recoverable dye water to be recycled
- All Air sole innovations designed since 2008 are composed of at least 50% recycled manufacturing waste.
- Today, Nike Air Manufacturing Innovation facilities divert more than 95% of manufacturing waste from landfills — that’s 51 million pounds of materials (the equivalent of nearly 10 Olympic-size swimming pools) from May 2016 to 2017 alone.
- The new Nike Air Max 270 Air sole boasts one of the largest, tallest, and most visible cushioning systems to date and contains more than 70% recycled manufacturing waste.
- The VaporMax Air sole, which contains more than 75% recycled material, has allowed Nike to remove the need for a foam mid-sole.
A large part of achieving those goals rests on how Nike makes its Air bags. Nike Air Manufacturing Innovation manufactures Air sole units from three facilities in the U.S., two of which are based in Oregon, near Nike’s World Headquarters, and one near St. Louis, Missouri.
Here’s a closer look at how each Air unit is made
For more of the latest info on Nike’s commitments to reducing its impact on the planet, including how it will be powered by 100-percent renewable energy across North America by 2019 (and halfway toward reaching its worldwide goal by 2025), read Nike’s full Sustainable Business Report here.