About Ocean Sole
The colorful Ocean Sole statues are not only great to see but the story behind it is also truly inspiring and impressive. Once one hears what material is used to create the statues, they look in disbelief; flip flops?!
Passionate about the oceans, sustainability and being aware of the importance of ecosystems, Ocean Sole battles pollution caused by flip flops and other plastics.
A large part of the global population, especially in developing countries , only wear flip flops made of foam (polyurethane). This footwear is cheap to buy, but not durable in use. This, combined with an underdeveloped waste management system makes that in countries such as Kenya, the flip flops often end up on the streets and in the oceans. This has all kinds of consequences for humans and animals.
The Plastic Soup
Waste that floats in the sea is carried by sea currents and often ends up in a place that is called the ‘Plastic Soup’. The Plastic Soup is a large ‘island’ of floating plastics that has formed in the oceans. Through seawater and ultraviolet light these plastics slowly disintegrate into very fine pieces.
Many of these small plastic particles end up in thein the food chain, in the stomachs of birds and marine animals, causing poisoning and endocrine disruption. Additionally, a large part of the Plastic Soup (including flip flops) engulfs the beaches of Kenya, among others.
The Ocean Sole way
The discarded flip flops are collected and cleaned by staff of Ocean Sole. Then the flip-flops are glued together to form large blocks from which the creative team of the finest craftsmen carve statues. Elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinos and many more famous animals of the African savannah are transformed out of these flip flops. Each Ocean Sole artist has his or her own specialty. One artist, for example, is more experienced at creating the smallest models, while the another ventures into creating the bigger statues!
Ocean Sole contributes to solutions for three local and many global issues that affect everyone: they prevent and alleviate pollution of land and sea, create jobs and the limit logging for artwork. Many of the artists used to use wood to make statues.
1. Ocean Sole collects and processes some 400,000 flip flops annually. Furthermore Ocean Sole creates greater awareness among the locals through its foundation. Ocean Sole puts from 5% to 25 % of its profits back into its foundation. 25% of profit from all "Giant" sculptures is always put back. The foundation funds other recycling and environmental awareness projects.
2. Ocean Sole creates jobs. Kenya has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the world, about 40 percent of the population is unemployed most of whom are low or unskilled and illiterate. In Nairobi alone, Ocean Sole has brought work to about 100 people and the company is still growing.
3. Ocean Sole reduces logging. Many of the artists who work for Ocean Sole come from tribes that are known for their wood carvings. The wooden statues they produced were popular among tourists. By using flip-flops as the base material, the logging of tropical timber in Kenya has been reduced.
The artworks of Ocean Sole tell an important message about the importance of protecting the marine and land environment and their bright colors bring a smile to the faces of many!
Some figures at a glance:
- Plastic Soup is an island of plastic floating around in the ocean with a magnitude 34 times the size of the Netherlands.
- Worldwide sales of flip flops are estimated to be upwards of 15 billion dollars, this is more than the entire market for athletic shoes.
- With an average income of € 2, - per day, flip flops are the only type of footwear that many people in developing countries can afford.
- Ocean Sole collects and processes some 400,000 flip flops annually.