How Sperry Repurposed Half a Million Plastic Water Bottles This Year

Sperry is getting serious about sustainability.

The classic brand, which debuted its “Look Good, Do Good” platform this spring, has repurposed half a million, or four tons, of plastic water bottles through its new eco-friendly line. Executives announced the milestone at the ACE Awards on Monday evening in New York, where Sperry received the 2019 sustainability award.

Sperry’s collection for men, women and kids is made with Bionic, a material spun from plastic recovered from marine and coastal environments. A selection of popular Sperry styles — such as the Authentic Original boat shoe; Captain’s CVO, a signature lace-up sneaker; and the women’s Crest Vibe sneaker — all draw on Sperry’s heritage and feature details inspired by multi-colored spinnaker sails and heavy stitching.

The recycled Bionic material is produced by a mission-driven material engineering company that sets up recycling facilities and organizes beach cleanups around the world with NGO partner Waterkeeper Alliance, chaired by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. According to Sperry, its support of Bionic’s mission will help raise awareness for the issue of ocean pollution, sponsor beach cleanups to help reduce the 8 million tons of plastic that enter the ocean each year, and transform it into shoes.

“It’s been great to work with so many amazing people to develop our iconic Sperry silhouettes now with materials created from plastic pollution,” said Adam Meek, global senior VP of product at Sperry, who accepted the honor alongside CMO Kate Minner. (Actress Rachael Harris welcomed the pair to the stage.)

Minner told the crowd the brand is going beyond product to educate consumers about how to reduce their own use of plastic. “We developed a voice-controlled experience, which works via the Amazon Alexa device…and offers a range of actionable, every day tips for using less plastic,” she said.

Going forward, Sperry will expand the “Look Good, Do Good” platform, according to Minner. “We will challenge ourselves to expand the initiative, while implementing many of the other aspects of the Sperry business and corporate culture. We are dedicated ways to reduce waste and becoming more sustainable with every season,” she said.

Watch FN’s video with Gillian Meek, president of Sperry’s sister brand Keds, here.

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