Art of Upcycling Football
| Hayden Tsui, Programme Officer of Friends of the Earth (HK)
Hong Kong people have always loved football. In Hong Kong, , there are so many people in Hong Kong who are exposed to football, whether they take part in football game or enjoy watching match from world-known football league at home, such as the Premier League and La Liga. In addition, the UEFA European Championship just kicked off in the summer of 2021, boosting the public enthusiasm for football to its peak. However, have you ever thought that some green concepts can be applied to football?
In the UEFA European Championship, different star players are fighting for the country. Apart from admiring the fancy design of the jersey, have you noticed what material it is made of? In fact, some of their jerseys are actually made from eco-friendly fibers from recycled plastic bottles. Since the 2014 World Cup, there have been teams using jerseys made of eco-friendly fibers. As of the 2018 World Cup, 16 of 32, or half of the countries have jerseys made of eco-friendly fibers, showing that this technology and concept could be widely used.
When talking about the football, the ball is of course indispensable, but how can a ball show environmentally friendly elements? Maybe everyone would think of using some natural materials to make it, but can you guess what it is?
The answer is sugarcane!!! The theme of the 2018 World Cup is environmental protection, and the special football "Telstar 18" at that time is made from bio-based ethylene extracted from sugar cane. The ethylene is converted to bio-based Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer rubber (EPDM) to become the final material to make a football. Although this material has to go through some complicated processes to extract, it is not only durable but also very environmentally friendly.
The concept of green environmental protection is attracting more and more attention all over the world. The football industry has begun to attach importance to related concepts and take corresponding measures. Forest Green Rovers, a team playing in the Football League Two in England, has been committed to creating green football since 2010. The team has implemented a variety of measures to become a green team, including implementing a red meat ban and encouraging players to be vegetarian. Their training ground turf does not apply pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other chemicals. The team also installed solar panels and rainwater circulation systems around the training ground, as well as set up charging stations for electric vehicles. In addition, the jersey of Forest Green Rovers is made of bamboo fiber; this year, a special edition jersey made from coffee beans was launched. It can be seen that this team continues to make bold environmental protection attempts, which led to their team to be recognized as the world's most environmentally friendly football team by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
Everything will eventually end, and the football is no exception. Once the football is at its end of life, how can we make good use of it? A group of German designers have transform discarded footballs into distinctive hanging lamps, fully reflecting the green concept of upcycling—transforming waste into valuable products.
In fact, not only in football, there are many other things in life that we can use our creativity to upcycle products. All of us can jointly make an effort to protect our environment!