Marine pollution hit for six as Sri Lanka debuts eco-friendly uniform
Thursday, 30th May 2019 at 5:05 pm
The upcycling movement has found an unlikely ally in the Sri Lankan national cricket team, which will wear a uniform made out of plastic recovered from the beaches of Sri Lanka for the Cricket World Cup.
The team’s clothing sponsor MAS Holdings – in partnership with Eco Spindles and the Sri Lanka Navy – produced the official World Cup attire through its sustainability initiative “Ocean Plastics”.
With one-third of Sri Lanka’s population living along its 1,340 km coastline, the island nation has a major impact on the world’s marine pollution.
This led MAS to partner with the Sri Lanka Navy in 2015 to try and make a difference. In one weekend alone, 1,500 volunteers from these organisations collected 9 tonnes of rubbish from 25km of coastline along 13 Sri Lankan beaches.
Eco Spindles then joined the partnership, playing a role salvaging and recycling PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastics.
While MAS has worked with Sri Lanka Cricket for more than 10 years, it was only when Eco Spindles began recycling PET plastics into polyester yarn that MAS realised it could be used in the team’s uniform.
This resulted in the creation of the eco-friendly fabric used to produce the Sri Lanka men’s national cricket team jerseys for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Rashmika Peiris, business director at MAS Active, said he was proud of the company’s waste-to-wearable sustainability project.
“We have been able to manufacture a revolutionary performance fabric that promises to be a two-fold solution; first as part of MAS’ progressive innovation mandate, and next as part of a high-impact eco-friendly sustainability initiative,” Peiris said.
“We expect to drive this innovation forward, and are excited at the prospect of reaping greater results as our product and process evolves.”
The front of the team’s jersey features an abstract sea turtle design that depicts the yarn spun from recycled plastics, with a blue and yellow colour combination showing golden sun rays striking the sea.
Sea turtles are an important part of Sri Lanka’s coastal ecosystem, with the nation’s shores providing nesting for five of the seven existing species of the animal.
Navy Commander Piyal de Silva said Ocean Plastics was a project that would positively impact Sri Lanka’s coastline, marine life, and coastal communities.
“The navy has a unique perspective on the impacts of plastic, and we see the potential that this project and other public-private partnerships have to preserve our nation for future generations,” de Silva said.
The players themselves have also got behind the initiative. Veteran bowler Lasith Malinga told the Herald Sun the uniforms felt “very comfortable”.
He added that his teammates wanted to help clean up the beaches of Sri Lanka and make a difference worldwide.
“It’s a good thing for Sri Lanka and the people,” Malinga said.
“[We’re] very happy to wear that and we will support it.”