This is upcycling at its best! A Kenyan company, Ocean Sole, has found a way to make use of flip-flops that get left on beaches in a way that prevents waste while making something beautiful.
Kicking the Waste Problem
It has been said that there’s beauty in everything. If we used this mantra when dealing with waste, we would help to prevent the tarnishing of our beautiful beaches and landscapes with litter. Marine pollution is a big problem that we face, with many items discarded on the beach getting sucked into the ocean where they can be harmful to sea life as well as create clutter. A company decided to do something proactive with rubber flip-flop sandals that get lost, forgotten or discarded after their owner’s fun day at the beach. Established in the late 1990s, Ocean Sole works to collect flip-flops from the beach and use them to make amazing sculptures, turning something potentially bad into something great.
Ocean Sole employs 40 Kenyans full-time, and includes over 100 people from areas of high unemployment rates in the country. Their products are stocked in gift shops in zoos, museums and aquariums. In 2013, Ocean Sole transformed approximately 50 tons of flip-flops into ornaments, animal sculptures and even jewellery. The company’s goal is to recycle a whopping 400,000 flip-flops every year!
Going One Step Further
Ocean Sole is focused on cleaning up marine pollution and they adopt a zero waste policy. This means that any waste from creating the art is used to produce flooring for children’s playgrounds. When other materials are required in the production of art, recycled goods are used, such as rubber leftovers from shoe companies or recycled beads that are purchased from local suppliers. Even rainwater is collected and used in the company’s artistic endeavours. You can purchase Ocean Sole’s sculptures on the Oceanic Society website, with 100 per cent of profits going to assist in conservation issues.