r/whatisthisthing Dec 31 '22 Helpful 2

Bought a new pair of Nike shoes. Inside the box was this small, plastic bubble, filled with air, and what looks like tiny, colorful micro plastics. Has a loophole on the top and is about an inch long. Solved!

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u/SimilarContext Dec 31 '22

I think it is just what you said. Micro plastic particles. Probably to show how Nike helps to clean up our planet. Greenwashing at best.


u/qeveren Dec 31 '22

Yeah like... what are you supposed to do with a bag of pollution they send you? XD


u/InsertBluescreenHere Dec 31 '22 All-Seeing Upvote Starstruck

for you to dispose of lol. Ingenious really - cant get dinged for improper disposal or labeled a leader of microplastic pollution if you dont actually pollute on company grounds lmao. send it to everyone else as a marketing ploy just to toss in a trash heap.


u/phant-m Dec 31 '22 Wholesome Seal of Approval

You could use it as a keychain. You can hang it off your shoes if you’re into wearing the tags a lot of models come with. Or you could use it as a zipper pull on a winter coat


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/tsirs Dec 31 '22

My thoughts exactly, I thought there must be more to it!


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/iambeherit Dec 31 '22 Silver

Micro plastic that comes in a plastic container inside your plastic shoes made in China, shipped across the world for you to chuck in the garbage.



u/tsirs Dec 31 '22

Most likely solved. Sad that they just repackaged their trash.


u/pksml Dec 31 '22

“If it looks pretty, the consumers will do our dirty job for us… and feel good about it!”


u/Reble77 Dec 31 '22

You mean they passed their crap on to the purchaser to dispose of. Genius


u/Bi0H4z4rD667 Dec 31 '22

Call me an ignorant if you wish, but wouldn’t recycling it be the most logical step rather than creating more trash out of it?


u/BiAsALongHorse Dec 31 '22

Most plastics can't be recycled economically.


u/Ok_Tadpole4879 Dec 31 '22

Possibly, the problem with that is very few plastics can actually be recycled and of the ones that can only like one is cost effective.


u/Camelfoe Dec 31 '22

Depends on if you're trying to save the planet or save money.


u/Alternative-End-280 Dec 31 '22

Look how we clean up the environment by making lots of plastic pouches that people will throw out


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/aaros47 Dec 31 '22

I think it's for a key chain.


u/nitro479 Dec 31 '22

Could it be a sample of the recycled material the shoes were made from?


u/gefloible Dec 31 '22

They're calling it "Nike Grind"


u/ConstantSprinkle Dec 31 '22

Is that the same shit they put in the turf fields?

My HS was in Nike's backyard and they put a godawful blue turf field in, with those little plastic particles. Everything about it was terrible. Hopefully they replaced it after I graduated.


u/Stubbedtoe18 Dec 31 '22

I'd hope so too considering those plastic turf particles have been proven to cause cancer.


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u/Pineappes Dec 31 '22

I agree with those saying it’s micro plastics- to show how “green” they are - I’m also thinking they’ve given them to you in keychain form.


u/mrw4787 Dec 31 '22 edited Jan 01 '23

How is using micro plastics to make keychains showing how green they are? Wouldn’t that be the opposite?


u/Coomb Dec 31 '22

If the microplastics are a byproduct rather than produced specifically for the keychain, having them confined is better for the environment.


u/_mister_pink_ Dec 31 '22

But eventually that bubble is going to degrade enough to break and release all the micro plastics into the environment.


u/Coomb Dec 31 '22

Temporary confinement isn't a bad thing. Everything is temporary.


u/osskid Dec 31 '22

Everything is temporary

On a long enough scale so is environment pollution, but I don't think that's a beneficial takeaway here


u/LoaMemphisZoo Dec 31 '22

Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.


u/Beenoman Dec 31 '22

Good thing it takes tens of thousands of years for that package to degrade at all. Still think this idea is dumb but yeah. Your kids, kids, kids, kids, etc. would never be around to see that plastic pouch degrade.


u/bg-j38 Dec 31 '22

Having that rattling around in my pockets for more than a year or so would easily end up shredding the plastic container and releasing those particles right back into the environment. Ugh.


u/marleezy123 Dec 31 '22

I’m seconding this


u/truckfullofchildren1 Dec 31 '22

I think it was supposed to be a foam shoe tag but looks like it got ruined


u/matttii Dec 31 '22 edited Dec 31 '22 Helpful All-Seeing Upvote

Usually it's attached to one of the shoes with a chain, it's to show what material is inside the shoe. Adidas had the same ages ago with their Cloudfoam. https://di2ponv0v5otw.cloudfront.net/posts/2018/08/28/5b85e54212cd4a9fcc71c13e/m_5b85e559fb3803a42a6013ce.jpg this is the Adidas tag. If you look up the name of the Nike shoe you should be able to find something similar.


u/Lochlanist Dec 31 '22

I'm assuming people are right that it's just micro "recycled" plastic.

But, even if you ignore the fact that they trying to get brownie points for putting recycled plastic in more plastic and giving it to people who will throw it into a landfill.

That plastic looks very curated, with a very specific amount of green and other color to make it asthetic. What was the carbon foot print to filter micro plastics and sort it to get that asthetic effect.


u/cpennn Dec 31 '22

Loop it on your shoelace and wear it as decoration would be my guess


u/That_Other_Tim Dec 31 '22

This is the answer. Flair for your kicks.


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/Ok_Choice1227 Dec 31 '22

Maybe ask on r/nike, they would know.


u/edwardothegreatest Dec 31 '22

It’s a pendant you wear to tell everyone you’ve teamed up with Nike to save the erf.


u/aiaor Dec 31 '22

Could it be a desiccant to keep them dry?


u/DrachenDad Dec 31 '22

That's what I first thought until I noticed that none of it looks like sand or glass. Also the bag is plastic.


u/wolfgang239 Dec 31 '22

its most likely something you hang on your key chain.

It has the logo on it and that hole will let you slip a small chain through it and hook it to your keys.

It could also be something that gets laced up on one of the shoes to show it off. I have seen kids do that a lot.

So my vote is for key chain doohickie or shoe jewelry thing-ama-bob.


u/tsirs Dec 31 '22 edited Dec 31 '22

My title describes the thing. It is a small, plastic bubble that just came in a new pair of men’s Nike sneakers. It has the Nike logo on it. It is sealed and doesn’t open. pics


u/Urithiru Dec 31 '22

Seems like they are including them with all shoes. Might call Nike customer service to ask about its purpose. The numbers are easy to get on the Nike website.


u/beentherereddit29 Dec 31 '22 edited Dec 31 '22

Its probably a hangtag key chain. Jordans I believe come with them. Some people hang them off the shoe. What nike shoe did you just buy?


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/LoaMemphisZoo Dec 31 '22

Wow I just now realized what loophole means...


u/gonzorizzo Dec 31 '22

I know of other companies that provide stuff like this as a keychain.


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/nowhereiswater Dec 31 '22

I'm sure there's a factory in China that takes care of those packet inserts. Why? It's how they export their garbage and we look at and say oh how interesting "mircro plastic".


u/bjjcatniss Dec 31 '22

Maybe it could be used for shopping when you don’t have the shoes with you and you want to match the colors for an outfit? Of course this would only Make sense if it’s the same colors as the shoes


u/[deleted] Dec 31 '22

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u/Fuhgetabout Dec 31 '22

Could it be silica? They put little packets of that in some packages to absorb moisture.


u/OleaC Dec 31 '22

Possibly silica gel which absorbs moisture, possibly condensation, if the shoes are in transit or storage. A silica gel sachet was commonly packed in the boxes of 35mm high end cameras s such as Nikon and Canon.