Since last Friday, football (that would be soccer for us Americans) fans around the globe have been glued to television sets as they’ve watched the opening matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Here at Sip & Savor, we’ve been doing a fair amount of viewing – and quite a bit of cheering – ourselves. We’ve enjoyed watching the overall play of the matches, as well as the impressive skills of talented, and in some cases highly marketed, World Cup players such as Portugal’s Cristian Ronaldo, England’s Wayne Rooney, New Zealand’s Winston Reid, Brazil’s Maicon and Robinho, and, of course, the United States’ Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore, among others. We also thought there was a World Cup “teachable moment” to share with our readers about environmental sustainability.
So what’s the link between soccer and sustainability? At least one involves the Nike jerseys worn by nine of the World Cup teams: Brazil, the Netherlands, Portugal, United States, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Slovenia. The jerseys are made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, one of the most commonly used types of plastic in the world. Each jersey is produced from up to eight recycled plastic bottles, sourced from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites, according to a Nike news release. While it’s great that the PET bottles are being re-purposed, it’s unfortunate that this 100 percent recyclable material found its way into a landfill in the first place.
We applaud Nike in its effort to lessen its environmental footprint by using recycled materials to bring a product to market – and, of course, for supporting soccer in such a unique way. But let’s also remind soccer fans around the globe that when they finish consuming their favorite beverage, non-alcoholic or otherwise, to “Think Inside the Bin” and recycle that container. After all, your container may just end up on the back of a world-class athlete.