Old Navy is urging flip-flop wearers to recycle for Earth Day and make some children happy at the same time.
The clothing chain, which has an outlet in Minot's Dakota Square Mall, is collecting used flip-flops today through May 21 at stores nationwide for recycling into playground equipment.
Kristi Meiners, district spokeswoman in Minnesota for Old Navy, said the store's customers have been asking for flip-flop recycling and some even have left their old shoes with the store in the past when buying new ones. As the world's largest seller of flip-flops, recycling the footwear seemed a logical community project.
"It's something we can do with our customers to recycle flip-flops and put them to good use," Meiners said.
Minot's Old Navy will have a bin in the store where people can deposit their contributions. The store will accept any type of flip-flops. Shoes not of the proper material will be recycled in other ways.
Old Navy is working with TerraCycle, a New Jersey upcycling and recycling company that encourages consumers to rethink waste. Upcycling uses a waste product in its current form to make another product. TerraCycle works with major brands to upcycle a variety of packaging materials into products such as waste receptacles, fences and insulated coolers and backpacks. Schools and organizations participate and raise funds by collecting the packaging for TerraCycle.
TerraCycle is working with a manufacturer who will use the plastic derived from the flip-flops donated by Old Navy to make playground structures.
Old Navy wants to construct four playgrounds in different regions of the country. Locations still are being researched, but construction is expected by the end of the year.