The problem of plastic in the oceans has grown to such enormous proportions that every aspect of this burning issue needs to be reconsidered. There are so many things we use every day that are made of plastic that we hardly notice anymore. From water bottles and bags to more obscure items like shampoo bottles or kids toys, plastic can be found everywhere. We rarely stop to think that one day this lego block could end up in a sea turtle’s stomach … but a recent report about the impact of plastic flip flops is making us reevaluate even the most seemingly innocuous items in our life.
According to CNN, every year three billion people around the globe purchase a new pair of flip flops. The problem with these affordable and easily accessible sandals is that once buyers are done using them – which takes place quite soon after the purchase – they toss them. We’ve all experienced how quickly cheap flip flops wear holes in the bottom or break. Once in landfills or garbage piles, the flip flops make a long journey into the oceans – and there they stay, posing a huge threat to marine animals. Every year, around 8.8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans. 700 species of marine animals are now in danger of extinction because of the threat of ingesting and getting entangled in plastic waste. It is estimated that by 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic – which already happened to 50 percent of sea turtles who now have plastic in their stomachs.
Due to the enormity of this problem, we now, fortunately, hear about more and more initiatives and enterprises aiming to take action against the plastic waste overflow. Ocean Sole, an organization from Nairobi in Kenya, takes the discarded flip flops washed up on the shores and turn them into… art.
Ocean Sole aims to recycle 40o,000 used pairs of flip flops a year.
Around 100 artists working with Ocean Sole turn the throw-away flip flops into beautifully crafted colorful animals varying in size from tiny to very large ones.
The lovely carefully created pieces – elephants, giraffes, rhinos, dolphins, and more – are then being sold all around the world – and teaching each person buying them about the story behind their coming into being.
We like this version of a recycled sea turtle much more than images of real animals wrapped up and trapped in ocean trash.
This pioneering organization is turning trash into treasures and helping to divert a whole lot of waste from the world’s oceans. Click here to visit Ocean Sole’s website and learn more about the company.
While this is certainly impressive, not all of us have to start a recycled art company to make a positive impact on the planet, you can start by simply rethinking your consumer choices. Instead of picking up a pair of cheap flip flops that will barely make it through the summer, invest in a better quality, more sustainable sandal – Birkenstock, for example, now makes vegan sandals! On top of that, celebrate the summer by choosing to cut plastic out of your life! To learn more about how to minimize your own use of plastic and help the planet, join One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
All image source: Ocean Sole/Facebook