Most people think of flip-flops as casual beachwear. Cute, sexy, colorful, decorated and fashionable. In fact, flip-flops for over 3 BILLION people are the only pair of “shoes” they own. In emerging warm-climate markets, billions of cheap flip-flops are made to supply the feet of the poor every day. These flip-flops get worn for years and then after many repairs are discarded into dumpsites that ultimately seep into our Earth’s waterways and then into our oceans. The world is aware of the plastic problem, but what is looming is the ‘flip-flop’ problem. The mass of discarded flip-flops pile up and block waterways for fresh water and then make their way to our oceans–killing everything in their way
Ocean Sole is a social enterprise company that believes that more awareness is essential to the growing flip-flop problem that is cluttering our Earth.
As an example, in Kenya alone, one cheap factory not only burns coal and oil, hires cheap labor and uses plastic to makes over 100,000 flip-flops a DAY! This one company alone produces 3.65 MILLION flip-flops annually. Those flip-flips end up in urban dumpsites and ultimately make their way to our ruining our Ocean, our lands, our farms, our drinking waters — – our Earth. It is estimated that up to 7 billion tons of waste is dumped into the sea per annum.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) based in Nairobi, it is estimated that an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic and synthetic materials (flip-flops) are floating on every square kilometer of ocean, and that the impacts of this pollution generates a costs of over $8 billion a year – $334 million of that amount is attributed directly to flip-flops. At Ocean Sole we are advocates of transforming over 50 tons a year of discarded and lost flip-flops in the Ocean and on our lands and up-cycling them into art. We hope it brings attention to this problem globally.