Organic Spa Blog

Closing the Loop with Recyclable Flip Flops

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Soon it will be flip-flop season. The backless sandals make me feel like summer is finally here and give my feet a sense of freedom.

Unfortunately, most flip-flops are made of synthetic rubber and are rarely recycled. Even worse, they often end up in landfills. Especially since many retailers offer them as disposable fashion accessories in many trendy colors. In the past I have written about flip-flops made of natural rubber that naturally biodegrade as an eco-friendly alternative. Another way to tread lightly this summer is by purchasing flip-flops by Okabashi that are designed with their end-of-life in mind. They are made in the U.S. and are 100 percent recyclable.

Okabashi’s factory is based in Georgia, which means that the average Okabashi shoe only travels 7 percent as far as the average imported shoe. In the process fewer natural resources are consumed. The company uses a closed-loop recycling system that transforms returned shoes into new ones. This has the benefit of keeping the discarded sandals out of landfills. Within green manufacturing the term “closing the loop” has been used quite a bit. But do you know what it actually means? In regards to recycling it stands for turning post-consumer waste into new products. Okabashi’s sandals are 100 percent recyclable because they are made of Microplast, which can be softened and remolded at their own factory. What I like about the company’s system is that you as a consumer can play an important part in preserving our natural resources by returning your flip-flops after their useful life.

Most new pairs by Okabashi contain 15 to 25 percent recycled material, depending on availability. The manufacturing process is waste-free since almost all scraps or excess materials are kept free from contaminants and sent through the Microplast recycling process. In fact, the company was able to reuse over 100,000 lbs of scrap material last year. A lot of flip-flops don’t last very long, whereas Okabashi guarantees that theirs will be good up to 2 years with many of them typically surviving 2 to 4 years. They are machine washable and dishwasher-safe. So next time you need a new pair of flip-flops, opt for the ones that are either biodegradable or recyclable to leave a lighter footprint on our planet.

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