An international recycling company is collecting used flip-flops at all Old Navy clothing stores through May 21.
The flip-flops will come out on the other end as ground covering for public playgrounds—those rubber-like surfaces that save teeth, knees and arms when children take a fall.
Betsy King, the district manager for Old Navy in the St. Louis region, said that four playgrounds will be built and filled with the recycled flip-flops. King said there's no word yet on which communities those playgrounds will be built in.
TerraCycle Inc., an international company that turns hard-to-recycle items into eco-friendly products, has partnered with Old Navy for the flip-flop drive, which they're calleing "ReFlip, ReFlop, ReCycle." They say it's the first time a retail chain has agreed to a large-scale collection for recycle inside the store.
"Our flip-flops are popular," King said. "We thought this would connect with our customers."
Look for a big, blue box where you can donate the worn plastic footwear, or the pair of flip-flops that always hurt your feet (let's face it, you'll probably never wear them again). King said customers could even buy flip-flops at the store and donate them that day, if they were so inclined.
Flip-flops can be donated anytime the store is open. The in is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
As far as King knows, there's no other way to recycle flip-flops.
"By bringing in these hard-to-recycle products to their local stores, consumers help keep waste out of their community landfills," TerraCycle spokeswoman Megan Yarnall said in an email.