League Two promotion hopefuls and world’s greenest club Forest Green Rovers are set for another first in the world of football by debuting a kit made from coffee.
Forest Green, who became climate neutral in 2017, have became a global leader as in sports sustainability and were recognised by FIFA as the ‘world’s greenest football club’.
Previous initiatives have seen Forest Green go fully vegan, while there are plans to develop an all wooden 5,000-seater stadium.
The Cotswold club will wear the prototype coffee kit, designed by Player Layer, when they face Colchester in the league on Saturday. The match-worn kits will then be auctioned off with the proceeds split between Gloucestershire NHS and One Tree Planted.
Club owner and head of green energy company Ecotricity Dale Vince spoke to 90min about the initiative to look for more sustainable and beneficial materials in sportswear.
He said: “We’ve been working with Player Layer for a few years now and two years ago we launched bamboo as a concept material into our first-team shirt which was a global first.
“It was all about finding more sustainable materials as well as pursuing better athletic performance. It’s become normal for sports kits to be made entirely out of plastic but it actually impairs performance.
“We’ve been looking for different sustainable materials and Player Layer told us that they thought it was possible to use coffee grounds, so they went out and made it happen.”
The 100% recycled kit, which will get its first ‘performance test’ this weekend, is a hybrid material made up of three cups worth of coffee bean waste and around five plastic bottles.
While the coffee kits are a one-off this season, they will be on sale and available to purchase as part of the club’s 2021/21 designs.
Vince revealed: “We’re going to launch some new designs for next season. Our home and away kits will be new and we’re going to make one out of coffee and one out of bamboo. We think that’ll be a great lineup!”
The big question, however, is whether the kits smell?
“I have to say they don’t!” Vince confirmed. “It’s probably a good thing because when coffee gets old, it doesn’t smell so good, does it?”
Vince also teased that FGR could use famous fashion icon Hector Bellerin – who signed as an investor last year – for a future collaboration.
“We’ve talking to him [Bellerin] about clothes because we’ve got our own ideas to branch into ath-leisure as a club.
“We may collaborate on something and that would be very cool if we did.”