Adidas takes a solid step toward sustainability with a new embrace of recycled plastic.

Adidas is rolling out a bit of welcome news to people who love sports and care about the environment.

On July 15, Financial Times reported the sports apparel company plans to phase out use of "virgin" plastics (first-use plastic that hasn't been recycled), switching over exclusively to recycled plastics by 2024. This pledge includes the company's products as well as its offices, stores, warehouses, and other facilities. A CNN report puts the amount of plastic saved at 40 tons per year.

Over the past couple of decades, Adidas has made a number of other adjustments to its product lines in the name of sustainability. Its website notes that with a few small exceptions, the company stopped using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its products in favor of more sustainable and low-impact plastics in the years since.


Adidas displays Germany's World Cup jersey in June 2018. Photo by Hans-Martin Issler/Getty Images for Adidas.

Adidas isn't alone, either. A bunch of other companies are making moves to a more sustainable future.

At this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 11 global brands pledged to move towards 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging. Amcor, Ecover, Evian, L'Oréal, Mars, M&S, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walmart, and Werner & Mertz all signed on to make the shift by 2025. Ultimately, if there's hope to reassess how much plastic we use and how we use it, it'll take consumer pressure on brands to embrace sustainable technologies.

Individual decisions are good — such as choosing not to use plastic cutlery, not using single-use straws unless you have to, and opting for reusable bags at the grocery store — but it's brands that can make the big changes. Putting pressure on brands to find newer, more sustainable options can also have the effect of fueling innovation and technological advances.

Plastic use is a real problem in need of a real solution.

A report from earlier this year pegged the size of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" at three times the size of France, spanning 617,800 square miles and made up of 79,000 tons of plastic. It's gross, it's sad, and it's absolutely avoidable. Globally, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.

NOAA divers cut a Hawaiian green sea turtle free from a derelict fishing net during a recent mission to collect marine debris in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Photo by the NOAA Photo Library/Flickr.

According to the most recent data out of the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States places more than 25 million tons of plastic in landfills and burns nearly 5 million tons, but recycles just 3.1 million tons each year. The trend isn't looking so good, either. National Geographic found that 91% of the world's plastic isn't being recycled, and if we keep on the pace we're at, there will be 12 billion tons of plastic in landfills globally by 2050.

We deserve a world free from trash. More companies should follow the lead of Adidas and others.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.

Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.

Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.

"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."

O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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