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How it's made // Ocean Sole

The colorful Ocean Sole images are not only great to see, the story behind the images is also inspiring and impressive. As soon as people hear what material the images are made of, we often see surprised looks; flip flops (flip flops

Passionate about the oceans, sustainability and aware of the importance of ecosystems, Ocean Sole tackles pollution caused by discarded flip flops and other plastics.


A large part of the world's population - and especially in developing countries - wear flip-flops made of foam rubber (polyurethane). Flip flops are cheap to buy, but not sustainable in use. This, in combination with an almost non-existent waste processing system, ensures that in countries such as Kenya, flip flops end up in nature and eventually in the oceans.

 

The Plastic Soup
Waste that floats in the sea is carried away by ocean currents and often remains behind in a place where they come together, this is called the 'Plastic Soup'. The Plastic Soup is a gigantic 'island' of floating plastics that has formed in the oceans. Due to the salty seawater and ultraviolet light, this plastic slowly disintegrates into very fine pieces.

Many of these small plastic particles are eaten by birds and other mammals and enOcean Sole's method
The washed-up flip flops are collected and cleaned by Ocean Sole employees. The flip flops are then glued into large blocks, from which the creative team of craftsmen carves the most beautiful sculptures. Elephants, giraffes, lions, rhinoceroses and many more famous animals of the African savannah come to life from the flip flops. Every Ocean Sole artist has his or her own specialty. For example, one artist is better at forming the smallest figurines, while the other excels in the creation of the largest statutes!

 

Ocean Sole contributes to a solution for three local and global issues that affect everyone: it contributes to the prevention of pollution of land and sea by these plastics, it creates employment and it limits logging.

Ocean Sole collects and processes almost 1 million flip flops every year. In addition, Ocean Sole creates more awareness among the local population by providing information about pollution, recycling and financing other recycling projects with the proceeds of these artworks.


  1. Ocean Sole contributes to a solution for three local and global issues that affect everyone: it contributes to the prevention of pollution of land and sea by these plastics, it creates employment and it limits logging.
  2. Ocean Sole collects and processes almost 1 million flip flops every year. In addition, Ocean Sole creates more awareness among the local population by providing information about pollution, recycling and financing other recycling projects with the proceeds of these artworks.
  3. Ocean Sole reduces logging. Many of the artists who work for Ocean Sole come from tribes known for their wood carvings. The wooden statues they once produced were popular with tourists. By switching to flip flops as the basic material, the logging of tropical hardwood in Kenya has been reduced.

 

A few more facts:

  • The Plastic Soup is an island of floating plastics in the ocean with a size of 34 times the size of the Netherlands.
  • The worldwide turnover of flip flops is estimated at a whopping 15 billion, which is more than the entire market for sports 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.

 

Jonathan takes you on a small safari through the workshop

 

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