If you’re on the hunt for recycled flip flops, you’re in the right place. At Waves Flip Flops we’re committed to finding alternative ways to produce the world’s favourite summer footwear that doesn’t involve the use of plastics or their release into landfill.
Recycled flip flops are made using plastic that was once used as something else. Garden pots, plastic bags and bin liners can all make their way into standard, recycled footwear.
The problem with plastic recycling however, is that it’s not a real, long-term solution to the world’s plastic crisis. While we commend the fact that companies are reusing plastic consumers no longer need, that plastic will eventually degrade and ultimately find its way to landfill. The route is more circuitous, but the result is the same.
Flip flops from Waves are different. We don’t actually use recycled plastic to make the flip flops themselves. Instead, we make them from 100 per cent natural rubber, a compound that breaks down harmlessly in the ground.
In this way, our take on recycled flip flops are BETTER for the environment than recycled plastic flip flop varieties. They eliminate the risk of plastic entering the natural environment while negating the need to suck more fossil fuels from the ground.
That’s not to say that we don’t recycle at all, we do! It’s just our recycling is a heck of a lot better for the planet than traditional plastic recycling.
It turns out that not only can you recycle plastic, but rubber too. Waves uses discarded rubber flip flops and off-cuttings from our manufacturing process and ploughs them straight back into new products. This system cuts down on the total amount of rubber producers need to grow, reducing water, land and energy usage.
You’re probably starting to get the picture of the kind of company we are. We take the environment seriously, just like you, and do whatever we can to ensure that the products we make impact the natural world minimally.
Recycling is therefore an integral part of our operation; it’s just a little different from the kind of plastic recycling you might find elsewhere. Thus, if you’re an eco-conscious person, there’s no better choice than Waves Flip Flops.
Natural rubber is our preferred material to make flip flops. The reason for this has to do with its unique properties.
In general, there are two types of polymers: natural and synthetic. Natural polymers include things like natural rubber, while synthetic polymers include all of the man-made plastics derived from crude oil like PET and UPVC there is also a synthetic rubber like material called EVA also derived from a petrol compound.
Natural rubber is harvested from several species of trees and comes out as a kind of milky liquid. The raw polymer comprises a mixture of isoprene units and impurities. Processing removes the impurities and encourages the units to join up into long chains, giving rubber its characteristic properties.
The properties of these chemical chains are what makes natural rubber recycled flip flops so much better for the environment than regular plastic recycled varieties. Bacteria and other organisms have a chemical arsenal that can break the bonds between the chains, processing the constituent components of the rubber, and turning it into harmless waste products. Over millions of years, evolution imbibed species with this ability, turning the rubber we use in our flip flops into a safe, non-toxic benign material.
The same, however, is not true of synthetic plastics or rubbers. Microorganisms can’t break down their chemical bonds, meaning that large fragments of plastic can remain in the environment for hundreds of years as well as micro-plastic and petroleum waste making their way into our oceans.
Waves first got the idea for all-natural rubber recycled flip flops when in Sri Lanka, the large island just off the south coast of India. Not only is the country home to numerous white sand beaches – perfect flip flop territory – but also an abundance of rubber trees.
The pairing of the two seemed obvious. It made sense to us to utilise more sustainable alternatives that the country offered.
Before long, we began sourcing rubber from the trees that carpet the country’s undulating landscape and making flip flops locally, right in the heart of this south Asian country. Not only that, we also make sure we source rubber from Fair Rubber Association approved farmers, protecting our workers and our environment.
We had to do something about the unsustainable trend in the flip flop industry. While recycled flip flops are available, the vast majority that consumers buy are disposable and quickly find their way to landfills and the oceans.
Currently, around 3 billion people purchase a new set of flip flops every year. Globally, the flip flop market is worth more than $20 billion, which is higher than the sneaker market. Polyurethane foam flip flops are the primary constituent of most products and one of the most significant pollutants of the ocean.
Here at Waves we concluded that we needed to do something. We realised that flip flop manufacturing had to get closer to the source of rubber instead of shipping it overseas from places like Sri Lanka. We also came to understand that recycled flip flops didn’t go far enough. People needed flip flops that would serve them year after year. Recycling a plastic flip flop once might only delay it entering the oceans by one year. The only solution was to use a natural compound, one that would provide many years of service and wouldn’t lead to the environmental consequences of regular polyurethane foam.
We’re on a mission to help the planet and reduce plastic waste while also offering beautiful flip flops.
Unlike the recycled plastic, flip flops you read about online, our rubber varieties offer a far more sustainable solution. What’s more, we incorporate natural rubber recycling in our processes, cutting down on land, energy and water use.
When it comes to eco-friendly flip flops, there’s simply no better alternative than Waves.
Do you want to wear more sustainable flip flops? Choose Waves if you’re looking for an even better alternative to recycled flip flops.
Join us today and start wearing flip flops again, guilt-free.