ENCINITAS — As the summer season swings into high gear, a local group is urging people to recycle old flip-flops.
StyleSubstanceSoul.com, the fast-growing Carmel Valley-based Web site for women who want to look good, feel good and do good, is launching a major recycling effort with the help of local businesses and organizations. Dubbed “Formerly Flip Flops,” the initiative collects used flip-flops and sends them across the globe to be repurposed.
UniquEco, an award-winning African company that assists female entrepreneurs in impoverished areas, transforms the seemingly worthless piles of sandals into innovative pieces of art and jewelry.
Hansen Surfboards, San Diego’s oldest surf shop, jumped on board early in the process according to the group. They were the first corporate sponsor to collect flip-flops at their store. As an incentive, Hansen Surfboards is offering a 10 percent discount on a new pair of flip-flops to anyone who brings in their old ones.
Josh Hansen said the partnership is a perfect fit. “The decision to get involved was a no-brainer,” he said. “We’re totally behind the StyleSubstanceSoul philosophy of looking good, feeling good and doing good, and we were thrilled to partner with them in a way that so closely worked with our own corporate ethic.”
According to the women behind the scenes at the Web site, the idea for the project came when StyleSubstanceSoul.com featured a story about UniquEco earlier this year. “Readers immediately wrote in from all around the country, asking where they could send their old flip-flops,” said Amy Krause, the group’s media director.
“It seemed natural that we should become UniquEco’s first collection source in the United States,” said Lois Alter Mark, the Web site’s creative director. “We’re all about doing good and because we live in Southern California — the land of flip-flops — what better place to make a real impact?” she said.
The group said the collection efforts will not only help strengthen financial independence of women in Africa, but also have a positive impact on the environment. “We like to joke that we’re ‘StyleSubstanceSole,’ but the truth is we could actually help reduce landfills one flip-flop at a time.”
StyleSubstanceSoul.com was started in September 2008 by North County residents Amy Krause, Janet Harry, Lois Alter Mark and Susan Jensen. “It is the Web site for women seeking world peace, food for thought and a really great pair of shoes,” Krause said.
“Formerly Flip Flops has the potential to make a significant difference and we hope San Diego will lay a strong foundation for what we hope will become a national effort,” Krause said.
“We’re so excited that Hansen’s has partnered with us,” she said. “We want to encourage groups like camps, schools and Scouts to participate and collect flip-flops.” Sarah Walker, a Leucadia resident, said she picked up a few abandoned single flip-flops at the beach to help the effort. “It’s a good cause and an easy thing to do,” she said.
Old flip-flops can be deposited at Hansen Surfboards, 1105 S. Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas, or sent to StyleSubstanceSoul, 3525 Del Mar Heights Road #582, San Diego, CA 92130.