Americans go through about 50 billion water bottles a year, but only recycle a fraction of that colossal total. Now, more companies and organizations are looking for creative ways to repurpose the waste that hydration leaves behind. Possibly taking cues from Adidas, Timberland has started making its own environmentally-conscious footwear.
The shoe company has partnered with Pennsylvania-based manufacturer Thread (and their Ground to Good fabric) to transform used water bottles into wearable shoes, bags, and shirts. The Timberland x Thread collaboration is taking bottles from the streets and landfills of Haiti in an effort to promote sustainability and create new jobs for a nation in need.
Here’s how it works: Over 1300 Haitians help to collect the water bottles and sell them to one of 50 Haitian-owned and operated collection centers. The centers then sell the plastic to Haiti Recycling and ECSSA in Port-au-Prince, where it’s washed, shredded, and sent to the United States. The shredded plastic is then melted and turned into fabric, which Timberland buys and uses to create new clothing.
“At Thread, we believe that dignified jobs cure poverty—and our fabric creates those jobs,” Ian Rosenberger, founder of Thread, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Timberland marks a seismic shift in the fashion industry, combining Timberland’s large supply chain and loyal customer base with Thread’s responsible, transparent approach to creating premium fabrics and vital jobs in the developing world. The Timberland x Thread collection is a major step towards improving the way our clothes are made.”