Let me start out by saying that I am not one of those people who believe that we can buy our way out of the global warming, biodiversity declining mess that we now find ourselves in. I believe that the "green consumer" truly is an oxymoron. We need to buy less, repair what we have, do without. There are times, though, that a girl can't do without. When she has tried to repair and failed. She has looked for used to no avail. In those instances, the green companies springing up all around us can offer a more sustainable solution.
Every spring, as the sun warms the earth, the seeds sprout stretching away from the soil and the thermometer flirts with the 90 degree mark, I invest (and I use that term loosely) in a couple pairs of sandals (I also use that term loosely because they are really flip flops, something to slip on as I race out the door in a perpetual state of lateness). In the past, I would pick up my sandals from Old Navy or maybe Target. Dropping a ten note per pair seemed like a good deal to me. Invariably, as autumn rustled in with brown leaves and cloudy nights, my "investment" would be tattered, the shiny beads long lost, the soles worn to nothing, the straps breaking. I have yet to have a pair last me for more than one season.
This spring, the sun warmed the earth, the seeds sprouted, and the thermometer hit 90. I had tried, in vain, to repair the one pair of flip flops I had left. The sole had separated, the fabric torn. I finally admitted defeat and, for weeks, scoured the local thrift stores. I came up with a pair of leather sandals but nothing truly comfortable or casual. I had hit a milestone. I had no choice but to buy my first new article of clothing in approximately a year.
Looking online, I came across Simple Shoes. As a true cynic, I immediately suspected green washing when I read their Shoes for a Happy Planet tag line. A number of their shoes, however, are made with materials like recycled tires, water based glue and hemp. The website boasted that shoes would be shipped in a biodegradable bag and that the company would donate $5 to StopGlobalWarming.org for the flip flops I was considering. Still, I'm out of practice in buying. I have completely lost that desire. So I waited and made do without flip flops. Finally, a heat wave rolled over California. I took the plunge and ordered my Stop Global Warming Toepeekas for a whopping $65. That's about six times the amount I normally spend but I'm hoping these will last quite a bit longer.
A week later, they arrived at my doorstep. I opened the box tentatively, remembering that I forgot to include a note with my purchase for no plastic packaging. I had relied on the company's representations about itself and its green goals.
What the heck? A giant gob of plastic greeted my eyes.
Closer inspection revealed, however, that it was biodegradable, corn starch polymer. The bag promised "dig it . . . bury it . . . buh bye". Hmm. A label indicated that the company believes such bags are better for the environment than boxes. While I'm not corn's biggest fan, it certainly is smaller than a box and, assuming it biodegrades in a reasonable amount of time, a pretty good way to go.
Overall, the entire contents of the box were as minimal as I've ever seen for a pair of shoes and downright sustainable. No plastic. Everything biodegradable. I guess I could have lived without the SIMPLE hanger - printed on 100% post consumer recycled paper with soy ink and made to double as a Do Not Disturb door hanger. After my experience of death by plastic from LUSH or my battles with Amazon's over sized boxes and over-plastic wrapped products, I am delighted to report that Simple Shoes appears to be exactly what it purports to be: "a nice little shoe company".
Gotta run out the door now in my uber-comfortable, high quality, recycled tire Stop Global Warming flip flops - the first pair of flip flops I've owned that will last me for seasons to come.
*I have no connection with this company, have never corresponded with it and get absolutely nothing for sharing my experiences with its shoes. I am just happy to find something that would make Beth at Fake Plastic Fish happy and abide by my no-plastic pledge in Crunchy Chicken's Extreme Eco ThrowDown.