Have you ever wondered what to do with those old flip-flops that you might wear at the beach, but are now useless because they have broken straps? Why not save them up and cash them in for 41 cents per kilo with Ocean Sole, a business making something useful out of these discarded items of footwear.
However, you may have a little trouble cashing in your stockpile of flip-flops because the business is owned by Julie Church who lives in Kenya.
Church came up with the idea of turning these non-biodegradable slippers, which seem to turn up everywhere, including beaches, into something that could be sold to make a profit. In 2013, her company turned about 50 tons of the carelessly discarded footwear into useful items such as animal ornaments and jewelry.
These plastic flip-flops, which are endangering the world’s oceans, turn up everywhere in the world. Some branded versions of the cheap footwear, even end up in Kenya, but have been originally discarded on U.S. beaches or other far reaching countries.
Not only is Church’s business, which is starting to reach global customers, a very profitable business, but she claims that she is helping to teach merchants about the dangers to the environment of the products they sell.
According to the Kenyan businesswoman, people are not responsible when discarding their old worn out flip-flops and other plastic items, because they tend to just throw them in the world’s oceans or rivers, instead of disposing of them correctly. She added that the world’s oceans contain about 50,000 items of plastic per square mile, according to United Nations estimates.
Although Church is making a good business from discarded old footwear and turning them into brightly colored animals, such as bison’s or dolphins, she aims at training her artists to create new footwear from the discarded old flip-flops.
One of Church’s carver artists, Jonathan Lenato, who produces colorful dolphins from the old, worn out flip-flops, believes that his finished product is helping to educate people of the dangers of just throwing their old footwear and plastics away anywhere.
The 30-year-old carver went on to say that although his friends wondered why at first he was using his skills to carve items with dirty old flip-flops, they have now come to realize the importance of his work to help save the environment.