Why the sports industry must also become independent of oil

Warum auch die Sportindustrie unabhängig von Erdöl werden muss
Crude oil is the original raw material of all classic plastic materials - also and especially in sports. Conventional sports equipment, such as running shirts, sports shoes, bags or drinking bottles, often consists of up to 100% crude oil. WINQS and a few other brands are trying to change that.
But why is oil actually so problematic? In fact, there are several reasons:
1. First of all, the processing of petroleum requires enormous amounts of energy to be converted into the materials needed to manufacture sporting goods. However, because it is disproportionately cheaper to procure than sustainable materials, oil remains the industry's most popular raw material, particularly for financial reasons.
2. The longevity of plastics is a massive environmental issue . Eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year. It usually takes several hundred years for this mass of waste to decompose. Meanwhile, fishing nets, toothbrushes, and hula hoops pollute the habitat of all living beings and threaten their health.
3. A special problem is microplastics . These are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm. These are released from plastic textiles during the washing process, bypass conventional plastic filters due to their small size and end up in our water system. They are then eaten by creatures that we also eat. On average, we ingest microplastics the size of a credit card every week.
4. Oil is a finite raw material, globally systemically important, with few exceptions extracted and distributed by non-democratic states. The political and economic dependencies became visible most recently after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. If all industries, including sport, were to emancipate themselves from oil, such states would lose a significant part of their income.
Plastics in Sports
How can the sports industry replace the use of petroleum-based plastic?
1. In fact, there are now numerous plant-based materials , such as wood fibers or hemp, that can completely replace plastic in textiles. Other substances, such as algae or castor oil, make it possible to reduce the need for special plastics, for example in the manufacture of midsoles or zippers. Plant-based substances also bind CO2 during their growth phase and thus counteract global warming.
2. In the case of special applications where plastic cannot yet be completely dispensed with - for example in the case of stretchable or extremely waterproof fabrics - plastic that has already been used should be recycled . This at least eliminates the need for "fresh" oil. In addition, manufacturers have to switch to recycling concepts that allow all their products to be recycled
3. Reparability and durability are two massively underestimated properties to reduce the global demand for plastic. If running shoes last a full 1,600 km instead of 800 km thanks to better materials and a free repair, I save 50% of the required resources.
The sports industry is still clinging to conventional materials with greenwashing. A recycled shoelace is often enough to speak of a sustainable shoe. Or individual collections are presented and loudly marketed, with the majority of the manufactured products still being produced from petroleum.
But the signs of the times seem to be changing. Join us and... let's get oil out of sports.