Ocean Sole is turning flip-flop pollution into art and functional products to promote conservation of the planet’s oceans.
The Kenya-based social enterprise, which was founded in 2007, has created a multitude of beautiful animal sculptures – including a giraffe, elephant, zebra, gorilla and warthog – from a colourful array of rubber.
The fun and eye-catching sculptures, with their kaleidoscope of colours, range in size from as small as a key-ring sized piece to an eight-foot tall giraffe.
Each animal sculpture is made from rubber from discarded flip-flops that are collected from the rivers around Nairobi and Kenya’s coastline. Flip flops are one of the most common items found along Kenya’s shores. An estimated 90 tonnes of flip flops find their way to East Africa’s beaches every year.
With the aim to turn as much waste into artistic treasure, Ocean Sole processes as many as 400,000 flip flops a year.
Ocean Sole founder and conservationist Julie Church decided that the waste she saw polluting the shorelines could become a source of employment for local Kenyans and inspiration for change on an international scale.
Kenya has the fifth highest unemployment rate in the world. In Nairobi alone, Ocean Sole has brought work to about 100 people and the company is still growing.”
Ocean Sole now works with a variety of zoos and aquariums, filling thousands of orders and sending the colorful creations all over the globe. Each sculpture also carries the Ocean Sole message to rethink the impact of marine debris on the world’s oceans by reducing waste, recycling plastics and protecting the oceans from debris.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea