The Current

Critics warn recycling ocean plastic into clothes is not progressive

There's a ton of plastic waste in the world's oceans. But some major clothing companies plan to do something with it, using the plastic to make jeans, running shoes and other items. Now that they've floated the idea, some ocean experts say it doesn't deal with a much bigger crisis lurking beneath the waves.
Adidas and G-Star say they're helping the oceans with clothes made of recycled garbage. But not everyone agrees. (Edward Conde, Flickr cc)

Superstar musician Pharrell William fondly remembers his childhood living right off of the Atlantic Ocean. These days Pharrell is involved with a new project to try to help clean up the oceans. And it's not a charity single. In fact it has more to do with fashion than music. 

Pharrell is the public face of a new campaign by clothing companies Adidas and G-Star Raw to transform plastic ocean debris into hip shoes and jeans. Exactly how that works, could use a little explanation.

Cyrill Gutsch is the founder of Parley For The Oceans, an organization that aims to use consumerism to help the oceans. We reached him in New York City.

Marcus Eriksen's work contributed to this ocean plastic project but that doesn't mean he's completely onboard. He is the director of research and co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, which is dedicated to marine conservation and ridding the oceans of trash. We reached him in Washington, D.C.

When it comes to the plastics littering our oceans... the stuff we can see is just the tip of the iceburg. Chelsea Rochman is a marine ecologist, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis. 

We requested interviews with Adidas and G-Star... and we're still waiting to hear back from them on the concerns raised about microplastics.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio.