Footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo and Robinho will take to the pitch in the World Cup in South Africa this summer wearing shirts made out of recycled plastic bottles.
Nike announced that for this first time its nine national teams, which include Brazil, Portugal and The Netherlands, will wear tops made entirely from polyester. The environmentally-friendly move will see each shirt made from up to eight recycled plastic bottles.
Manufacturing the shirts this way has prevented nearly 13million plastic bottles, totaling almost 254 tonnes of polyester waste, from going into landfill sites. This amount would be enough to cover more than 29 football pitches.
Nike claimed the move is its biggest ever commitment to sustainability. Nike Brand president Charlie Denson said: 'We are equipping athletes with newly designed uniforms that not only look great and deliver performance benefits, but are also made with recycled materials, creating less impact on our environment.' To make the 2010 national team kits, Nike's fabric suppliers sourced discarded plastic bottles from Japanese and Taiwanese landfill sites and then melted them down to produce new yarn that was ultimately converted to fabric for the jerseys. This process saves raw materials and reduces energy consumption by up to 30 per cent compared to manufacturing virgin polyester.
Mr Denson added: 'Consumers should not be penalised for choosing environmentally-friendly products. Our goal is less impact and lower cost.' The shirts cost £50 each.
The teams wearing Nike's new national team jerseys in South Africa are: Brazil, The Netherlands, Portugal, USA, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Slovenia.