Nike Trash Talk – Blog #5

Nike Trash Talk – Calvin Gorman

Corporations around the world have such a great influence on not only our environment but also our population. Large corporations such as Nike hold such strong power due to their global reach to draw attention to certain issues, in this particular case environmental issues. 

Nike is arguably the biggest and most popular global apparel brand and the corporation holds a lot of power in influencing people and drawing them to certain matters. Although Nike is trying to become more sustainable and has now joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, the company still has a long way to go before it can be branded as totally sustainable. Upon my research I found an initiative that Nike has started where they have partnered with Steve Nash, an All-star player for the Phoenix Suns who is very invested in environmental sustainability. The project was given the title, “Nike Trash Talk”. The collaboration aimed to create a usable and durable basketball shoe that was made entirely from manufactured waste. Senior Creative Designer for Running Shoes Kasey Jarvis, was the Nike director who worked with Nash to create the Trash Talk shoe. The silhouette of the shoe was identical to one that Nike had produced before, however this sustainable model was made entirely out of scrap material collected from Asian Nike factories. 

With Nike having such a large global reach and Steve Nash being involved in the project, many people heard about the shoe before it was even put on shelves. Thus bringing a lot of demand to the shoes and raising awareness about why the shoes were being made out of recycled material. When thinking of shoes being made with trash and other scrap materials we would imagine that they would be sold in smaller less expensive stores such as Target or Walmart however this would not draw enough attention to the project. Therefore Kasey Jarvis decided to release the shoes exclusively at the biggest NBA shoe store in New York City. Where the shoes sold out in a matter of hours. 

Overall I believe that this collaboration was definitely quite a significant step in the right direction for Nike, there is still a long way to go for them to achieve true sustainability. I also think that there should be more education into why these shoes are being made, and not just the fact that an NBA All-star promotes them.

The Life of a Computer!

For this week’s blog, I chose to analyze the life cycle of my computer. My computer is something I use every day and I thought it would be interesting to look into the environmental impacts of something I rely on so heavily. Computers aren’t made completely of plastic but they do have essential plastic components. Computer hardware also contains lead and mercury which can be quite toxic which I will get to later. Plastic in computers is used as insulators and capacitors as well as casing and keys. Computers are manufactured in factories however sometimes they need to travel from factory to factory to receive different parts. This process of added transportation creates more carbon emissions that are involved in the process of making the computer. The computer then needs to be deployed from the factory to a seller. Again, more transportation emissions are generated by transportation. Once it makes it to the seller, it is sold to the customer for usage. The use and operation of a computer are typically the longest part of the life cycle. This typically lasts around three to four years depending on the owner. Computers on the market are also constantly getting upgrades. If the customer is the type to want the newest computer each year, this will cut down the use and operation time. During the operation period of the computer’s lifetime, it is often known to break or slow down towards the end of three to four years. Some computer owners choose to get maintenance done on the computer but more commonly, owners tend to buy new computers that have a longer lifetime compared to their current computer. Once the customer is done using the computer, then it is ready for disposal. Computers can’t immediately go to a landfill. They need to be disassembled and decommissioned so that the hardware can be disposed of properly. Then these pieces of the computer are thrown into landfills…or they may make their way into the ocean. If lead and mercury from the hardware make their way into the ocean it can cause immune problems for marine life. If toxic phthalates make their way into the ocean it has the potential to be very harmful to marine life as well.

I thought it was very interesting to analyze the lifecycle of a computer. I normally think about the life cycles of throw-away, short-lifetime items so I liked being able to look at something with a longer life cycle. I often don’t think about the hazards that come with the disposal of technology so this was a good reminder about the risks and effects that come with purchasing technology. Personally, my current computer has lasted me from the beginning of high school until my freshman year of college. According to the article that I read, my computer should be at the end of its life cycle, however, it has done a great job holding up, even during the elder years of its life cycle. My dad has even offered to purchase a new computer but I don’t really see the point unless it completely stops working. This is very similar to my phone. Throughout high school, I had an iPhone 5 which was considered very old especially in my senior year. It still worked for me so I didn’t really see a problem with it. At the end of my senior year, the camera stopped working and the battery life started to go down so I ended up purchasing a used iPhone 7 to replace it. I personally do not see the necessity of owning the newest version of a product every time one comes out unless I absolutely need it. Through learning in this class about how companies purposefully make products that have a shortened lifespan, I actually find joy in using a product past the intended lifespan that the company sets for it.

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