There’s a blob of plastic floating in the ocean and it’s twice the size of Texas.
Or three times the size of France. Or ten times the size of Tasmania. It’s called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and it covers a surface area of 1.6 million square kilometres, which is amazing, revolting and utterly overwhelming. What can we do to make it go away? Well, firstly, we can make like Lucas Puig and start giving a shit. Lucas lives in Biarritz, where he developed a deep affinity with the ocean and dedicated his life to protecting and raising awareness for it—and his new shoe continues his mission. The Puig PK Primeblue is made in part with Parley Ocean Plastic, upcycled waste that has been intercepted on remote islands, beaches, coastal communities and shorelines and prevented from making its way to the GPGP. We had a quick chat with him about the shoe and his amour de la mer.
Lucas, why the decision to make an adidas Skateboarding shoe from recycled waste dredged from the ocean?
It was a goal for me to use Parley technology since I began having a pro model with adidas! I hope it sends a general message that we all need to make some changes towards environmental justice.
Can you talk us through the process of recycling this waste and turning into shoes?
The technology is great. Primeblue is made with high-performance recycled yarn containing at least 50% Parley ocean plastic that is then used in the creation of the shoe’s upper.
Are the materials as good or better than first-time-round stuff?
It’s important to know that the shoe is actually an off-board skate shoe to chill in. Primeblue is a high-performance recycled material made in part with Parley ocean plastic. It’s very good because we are not using any virgin materials to create new waste.
Where is the plastic in the ocean coming from? Surely people aren’t just walking down to the beach and upturning garbage bags in the tide.
Surely not, but you might be shocked if you see beach areas after a good day of sunshine. Anyway, I think the problem is not really behaviours on the beach but in our consumption habits and what is involved in the process of making what we buy. I am far from perfect, but I think little changes like not using plastic bottles, being conscious of what you buy, less plastic toys for our children, etc. are the key.
How long have you been a passionate supporter of ocean/environment protection and when did you begin to care?
Honestly, since I live next to the beach, seeing all the plastic on the beach and all over the world—like in Bali—touches me. I also have a kid and for sure I want the best for my boy. If we continue like that, we won’t be able to chase the crabs with our children. Crabs we capture and release, obviously.
For a lot of people, environmental stuff can seem pretty overwhelming, but what can the average person do to help make a difference?
When we don’t have fish to eat or any sort of life on the ocean, things will really start to change. For sure, it’s hard to imagine that you can help, but if we all do something, we have more of a chance. The industry has to change the way it produces things, but if we buy less plastic it will change naturally by consequence.
Protecting the world’s oceans is a life-long mission. If we check in on you in 20 years, will you still be involved?
For sure. I’ll probably be even more serious about it. The ocean gives me so much, and I feel a natural obligation to respect it and protect it.
The Puig PK Primeblue is available now at adidas.com and select skate retailers.