How To Recycle Your Flip-Flops — Or Give Any Shoe A Second Life

Okabashi
Okabashi's Indigo Epic flip-flop, $20.
Thomas Iannaccone

Thanks to continuing innovations in footwear manufacturing, it’s now possible to love having lots of flip-flops — and love the planet at the same time.

An increasing number of shoe brands are making their products with synthetic materials that are fully recyclable or offering programs that give old styles a new life.

In honor of Earth Day today, FN offers a few eco-conscious options for what to do with your favorite sandals after you’ve worn them to bits.

1. Reuse
On the off-chance that your go-to summer flip-flop has broken down, check the brand’s website to see if it will accept items for repair. Rainbow Sandals will fix its products at its San Clemente, Calif., factory for customers who just can’t part with their leather thongs. It also donates many repaired styles to local nonprofits and families in need.

2. Recycle
Maybe you’ve never heard of it, but a company called PlusFoam is making your feet more green. The firm produces a recyclable material that is replacing traditional foams, plastics and rubbers in shoe manufacturing, and it’s now used in flip-flops from more than a dozen popular brands, including New Balance, Roxy, Vans, O’Neill, Scott Hawaii, Vere and Manduka. To see if your sandals are recyclable, look for a PlusFoam logo on the bottom of the sole. If it’s there, visit Plusfoam.com to request a return shipping label and possibly get a discount code for future purchases.

Another flip-flop maker that’s supporting the planet is Okabashi. The U.S. shoe manufacturer uses 100-percent recyclable Microplast rubber in all of the styles in its Okabashi and Oka B lines. To participate, customers should simply mail their used sandals back to the factory at 4823 Roy Carlson Blvd., Buford, GA 30518.

3. Donate
For flip-flops (and other shoes) that are still in good repair but just don’t excite your interest anymore, consider donating them to a charitable organization, such as Soles4Souls, Project Sole or Shoe4Africa.

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