There are sneakers created with plastic from the oceans: Skizo is an excellent example of recycling plastic from the seas and oceans.

About 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year, and of that 8 end up in the oceanthe. It is clear that pollution poses an increasing threat to the planet, affecting the life of marine species, human health and safety and, more importantly, negatively impacting climate change.

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Urgent action is needed to prevent further damage to the oceans, such as reducing the use of plastic and reusing or recycling it when possible. The fashion industry is among the major culprits of plastic pollution: at least 60% of mass-produced garments today are made with plastic. According to the United Nations Environment Program, an estimated 1.4 trillion plastic fibers end up in the oceans.

The growing awareness for more sustainable fashion in recent years has led to many collaborations between the fashion industry and other organizations to address the climate crisis. As Skizo, a Portuguese-based start-up that collaborates with the local fishing and textile industry to recycle plastic that ends up in the oceans and transform it into sneakers. An idea, that of Skizo, which was presented to Web Summit yearly about a year and a half ago, and very well received. The brand was again invited to the Web Summit as a start-up company, and then awarded as one of the top 20 start-ups in Portugal.

André Facote is Andreia Coutinho, the founders of Skizo, came up with the project after taking their one-year-old son to the beach, and after noticing the large amount of plastic waste on the beach. The boy picked up a piece of plastic and put it in his mouth. Concerned about their son’s health, the two began cleaning the beach. Then they realized that it wasn’t enough, and that they could do much more to protect the environment, and they thought about transforming plastic into fabrics, since the technology already exists. And so Skizo was born.

The two began studying how to reuse plastic waste, and found that much of the plastic is not found on beaches, but right in the middle of the oceans. They started collaborating with fishermen, asking them to bring plastic waste back to shore. Every week waste arrives from Spain, Italy, Ghana, and even Indonesia. Once collected, the plastic is transported to Porto, to a textile industry that transforms it into fabric. Even if they never have been shoe designer, André and Andreia created the Skizo shoes themselves by doing a lot of research on the best-selling models. They then sent the designs to some shoe manufacturers who made the sneakers using fibers made from plastic. Their sneakers are comfortable and designed for everyday use, with the words “FROM THE OCEAN” written on the midsole.

The pandemic from COVID-19 has radically changed the way brands operate. Skizo also produces reusable masks with recycled plastic. The masks, all made in Lisbon, can be washed at least 100 times. Furthermore, starting from February, the company has expanded its offer and today also produces bags and suitcases created with the same materials. All products are made in a local laboratory connected to an institution that supports people with mental disabilities. André declares that “consumers have the power to change the market” and supports fair trade, for a fair wage, decent working conditions, appreciation and respect for workers. Their company’s philosophy is not only to “sell products” made with recycled plastic, but also to “have a positive social and environmental impact” on communities.

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