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Asics to Turn Recycled Clothing into Japan’s Olympic Uniforms

Dressing athletes is a sport unto itself and Asics, for one, wants to make it a team effort.

The Japanese sportswear brand announced last week that it’ll be recycling clothing, gathered from the general public, to manufacture uniforms for Japan’s Olympic and Paralympic teams in time for next year’s games in Tokyo.

From now until May 31, the Asics Reborn Wear Project (ARWPJ) will be establishing donation boxes at Asics retail stores, sports retailers and sporting events across Japan. Its goal, it said, is to collect 30,000 “sportswear rich with memories,” extract their polyester fibers and respin them into new clothing and shoe uppers.

Each collection box brandishes a two-dimensional barcode that unlocks a dedicated website when scanned with a smartphone. Users can sign up for a special email newsletter, through which they’ll be able to receive messages from athletes, information on Tokyo 2020 and updates about the uniform-making process.

Advertisements for the campaign will feature Asics ambassadors Yoshihide Kiryu, a record-holding sprinter, and Saori Yoshida, a former freestyle wrestler, holding up their personal sportswear. To “further building up positive energy” ahead of Tokyo 2020, ARWPJ has also created a digital photo frame that donors can use to post pictures of their own sportswear on social media, along with any related sentiments.

“Asics is launching ARWPJ to advance sustainability and sports promotion, and to contribute towards making the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 the most innovative to date,” the company said in a statement. “Asics will continue to contribute to the success of Tokyo 2020 and to reducing environmental impacts.”

Replacing virgin polyester with a recycled version is one of the ways Asics says it is achieving its “realization of a sustainable society” in accordance with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Its plans to cut 55 percent of its supply-chain carbon emissions and 33 percent of its own operations emissions by 2030 was officially approved by the Science Based Targets initiative this past August, it noted.