Kenya co. turns old sandals into colorful objects

9:20 am | May 8, 2013

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The colorful handmade giraffes, elephants and warthogs made in a Nairobi workshop were once only dirty pieces of rubber cruising the Indian Ocean’s currents.

Kenya’s Ocean Sole sandal recycling company is cleaning the East African country’s beaches of used, washed-up flip-flops.

Workers in Nairobi make about 100 different products from the discarded flip-flops. In 2008 the company shipped an 18-foot giraffe to Rome for display during a fashion week.

Company founder Julie Church says the goal of her company is to create products that people want to buy, then make them interested in the back-story.

Workers wash the flip-flops, many of which have been repaired several times. Artisans then glue together the various colors, carve the products, sand and rewash them.

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