Explained: How LFC’s Nike kits are made from recycled plastic bottles
Every single one of Liverpool FC’s Nike kits this season has been made from up to 18 recycled plastic bottles.
As part of Nike’s Move to Zero initiative, the Premier League champions’ 2020-21 strips are produced from 100 per cent recycled polyester. It’s the same for the fan versions of the jerseys, too.
Since 2010, the American apparel company has used seven-and-a-half billion plastic bottles to make the polyester for football shirts.
“Our materials supplier do the transformation but they basically take the bottles and chop it down into flakes and then they can melt it and then spin into the yarn,” explains Seana Hannah, Nike’s vice president of sustainable innovation.
“Then you can spin it in different thicknesses and weights depending on the performance that you want. All of those bottles would’ve gone to landfill.
“So we’re super proud of that because Nike is a big user of recycled polyester in our industry and we are just going to continue charging forward using as much recycled material as we possibly can.”
Even though made from actual waste, the Reds’ home, away and third kits contain the latest technology, providing cooling and breathability.
Hannah details: “The Liverpool kits used the recycled polyester but also the precision-knitting process where we can knit in reinforcements or knit in venting where there are heat areas.
“Those two things together – the material and the process – we actually have better performance. It’s more breathable and has more stretch than the previous kits.
“We want to give them [the players] – and they expect – the highest performance. And at the same time, make whatever they’re using as sustainably as possible.”
The production and delivery of the apparel also has combating climate change in mind, with Nike’s logistics operation centre in Belgium powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.
Any cardboard involved in the distribution process has been recycled up to seven times. Meanwhile, fans ordering just a shirt from Nike will have it arrive in a paper envelope instead, taking less space in the shipping container and, therefore, reducing the carbon footprint.
“We’re super excited about Liverpool and Nike – two greats coming together to really champion sustainability,” Seana says.
“We’re going to look at it from all different angles and we’re excited about the partnership.
“Football’s the world’s biggest sport and when you can have the players and the fans and partners, like Nike, when we can all bring it together, we can be real champions for climate action.”