An international recycling company is collecting used flip-flops at all Old Navy clothing stores starting today, Earth Day, until 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. 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.
Patch Editor Rachel Heaton contributed to this report.