We all have noticed emotional photographs about plastics in the ocean. Turtles tangled in plastic bags, dead fish with bellies full of trash…These pictures do the job when it comes to raising awareness about plastic pollution, but they are all rather negative and intimidating. Kenyan enterprise Ocean Sole shows that it's possible to point out to the waste problem in a colourful and playful way.
Ocean Sole is a social enterprise from Kenya that upcycles washed up flip-flops found on beaches and in waterways. Most people don’t know it, but this all-time favourite summer footwear accounts for a large amount of the waste found on beaches and in the ocean. It’s an everyday footwear in most developing countries, which tends to wear out quickly and thus ends up as waste quickly. Hundreds of thousands of flip flops are made every day (!) in Kenya alone and one of the local factories can produce up to 3,65 millions of them yearly. These numbers are quite horrifying, especially when you imagine that most of them end up in nature.
Ocean Sole fights this problem with their Flip the flop project by turning worn out shoes into design products such as sculptures, door stoppers or yoga blocks.
Not only they raise awareness about the problem of waste in our oceans and all around us, the project helps the local community, too. In a country with nearly 40% unemployment rate, the flip-flop art employs some 1,000 people, providing a steady income to low-income Kenyans. Besides, Ocean Sole gives 15% of their revenue to beach cleanups, vocational and educational programmes and conservation efforts.
What we like about them, is the fact that they use waste as a source and turn it into nice things. Apart from that, we support everyone who contributes to awareness raising about waste. Ocean Sole does it with their own original style and that’s why we decided to bring their products to you. Come and see them in our Minimum Waste store. We're looking forward to seeing you!