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The World's First Fully Circular Economy Flip-flops

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

How many products do you know of that can be fully recycled when they wear out, from the packaging to the actual product itself?

Not many that we know of, and, in fact, Subs might be the only flip-flops in the world that are made from recycled materials that are completely recyclable at the end of their lives in a circular economy.

Subs founders, brothers Justin (left) & Andrew Lambie overseeing the Subs recycled plastic injection process.

In developing Subs flip-flops, we not only wanted to use recycled materials in our packaging and products, but we wanted to make sure our products could be fully recycled at the end of their use, that could be fed back into the reprocessing system for reuse in new products completing the cycle of circular economy manufacturing.

The process itself is quite simple, customers can return their worn-out flip-flops to either Subs’ manufacturing HQ in Taiwan for immediate repurposing or to Sustainable Coastlines in Auckland New Zealand, where we are currently stockpiling returned pairs of Subs until we have enough volume for repurposing. We offer our customers an incentive to return their worn-out pairs with a discount on their next online purchase.

Sustainable Coastlines flagship store, in Auckland, New Zealand, the dropoff point for Subs' customers to return worn-out pairs for recycling.

At the Subs' injection moulding factory in Taiwan, the flip-flops are then cleaned thoroughly removing all dirt and little bits and pieces that can get stuck in the soles. The flip-flops are then put through a chipper, shredding them up into small pellets which will then be added to fresh pellets of RPVC (recycled PVC) straight from the RPVC processors and put back through the plastic injection machinery with a foaming agent making brand new pairs of PCU flip-flops.

Returned pairs of Subs flip-flops going into the chipper.

Subs flip-flops chipped into pellets ready for another cycle in Subs circular economy flip-flop manufacturing.

The Subs process, RPVC + Foaming agent = PCU Flip-flops.

Recycling worn-out pairs: PCU + RPVC + Foaming agent = RPCU/RPVC flip-flops.

Subs straps are made from a mix of 50% RPVC and 50% PVC and are also recycled in the same way.

Did you know that Subs also does beach cleans and sponsors beach cleanups globally, removing one kilo of marine debris from coastlines for every pair sold?

We are very proud to offer consumers the opportunity to purchase flip-flops with a difference that make a difference.

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