Nothing says footloose and fancy-free like a pair of flip flops. This low maintenance shoe in every color of the rainbow is a hallmark of summer. We often slip these sandals on without a second thought (because thinking is more of a winter activity, obviously), but five years ago, in Caloocan City, the Philippines, thousands of flip flop soles were headed to the trash. Having been rejected from factories that produce sandals, they would no longer be used to make shoes.
But Mavco Handicrafts in nearby Valenzuela City had a better idea.
They bought the rejected soles, cut them into small pieces, and used them as the building blocks for a bright, festive welcome mat.
Mr. & Mrs. Guillermo, owners of Mavco, trained individuals in a community in Bulacan to make the upcycled mats. The community had previously only been able to find work felling trees for charcoal, but this training is providing them with an alternative option for income. Originally, they had to request that the sandal factories cut the sandals into the specific pieces they needed to make each welcome mat; however, the group was eventually able to purchase a die-cutting machine of their own.
Each flip flop can yield five of the rectangular pieces that are the building blocks of the Upcycled Flip Flop Mat, and each mat saves nearly 55 flip flops from landfills.
This project is now the primary source of income for 25 makers, both men and women.
When they receive large orders, they are able to employ individuals from the Dumagat Tribe, an indigenous community living on the Dona Remedios Trinadad Mountain. Mavco originally focused on crafting products from Capiz, but this new venture is providing a new life for the rejected flip flop soles and new opportunities for the the community in Bulacan.
Brighten and upgrade your entryway with this Upcycled Flip Flop Mat, your feet and the earth will thank you for it.