Flip Flops Get A New Lease On Life

flip flops made into braceletSo, flip flops.  I don’t wear them, but you very well might.  Here in Austin, they’re everywhere, from McDonald’s to the nicest restaurants in town.  We’re a casual people.

(Yes, I ate at McDonalds!  I get one milkshake there about every four years!  Yes, I know it’s wrong!  I was having a really bad day!  I’m sorry!)

UniqEco is just one of the companies making crafts out of recycled flip flops, but I heart them the most.  The company was started in response to an ecological nightmare – discarded flip flops washing up on Kenyan beaches in vast numbers.  (Apparently, y’all flip flop wearers aren’t that concerned about what happens to your footwear – but since they don’t actually provide any protection for your feet, it kind of makes sense that you wouldn’t notice they were missing.)  The invading flip flop armada kept turtle mamas from laying eggs and baby turtles, if any, from getting back into the ocean.

I asked my husband the other day if he thought human civilization would get to a point where people were actually harvesting raw materials from landfills to reuse.  He said no, I still think yes, but if we do, flip-flops are definitely a contender.  They’re indestructible, people.  Women and children in the area where they were washing up were re-purposing them into cushions and toys, so it was a clear next step to see what else could be made and sold to address both the environmental impact of the sandals and the poverty of the surrounding communities.

The UniquEco Flickr Group is the place to go to view everything they came up with.  From art to holiday decorations to bowls and baskets to a toy helicopter and jewelry like the bracelet above, it’s clear that creativity has found an amazing medium.  UniquEco’s website doesn’t yet offer the ability to order, but if you Google them you can find some of their products in various online shops.

Extra flip-flops lying around?  Please don’t throw them in the ocean and hope they get to Kenya.  DIY, baby.  Here are some other ideas for inspiration:

And for your next pair, try a recycled pair of flip-flops.

Image from UniqEco.

Related posts about green and recycled crafts and accessories:

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. Love those!

    I totally think we’ll be mining landfills someday. Soon in fact. I read recently that there is already enough titanium on the sides of highways (from exhaust manifolds) to make it economically feasible to mine. Can you imagine? Just from us driving? Ugh!

  2. Does mining one’s own recycle bin count? I’ve asked my husband so many times and so many different occasions, “don’t put XXX in the recycle bin. I want to do something with it.” that at this point, he just places everything next to the recycling bin for me to mine or put in the bin as my creative needs dictate.

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