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Don't trash flip flops – swap 'em

October 03, 2012 - The cold weather is inching in for the fall season and the urge to wear flip flops is slowly diminishing.

But don't throw those flip flops away - the Academic Service Learning students at Sashabaw Middle School have the perfect place to take the worn down summer wear.

They are collecting flip flops from now until Nov. 30 for a contest through TerraCycle.

They will accept flip flops in any condition in any sizes and in any condition. The flip flops do not have to be in a pair. They do have to be free from any plastic and decorations not made of rubber.

The students kicked off the event on Sept. 29 during the Green Apple Day of Service - a national initiative day. They finished writing letters to businesses and designed collections boxes to go to schools in the Clarkston district and to local businesses.

"It has been really fun to help the environment and do something good," said seventh grader Isabelle Beck in Rodney Pierson's ASL class. "I know I am helping and doing it for a good cause. Plus, you don't have a lot of clutter in the house."

Through the project Sydney VanBuskirk learned 1.3 million tons of flip flops are thrown away every year and rubber takes a long time to decompose in landfills.

"It's a lot of flip flops," she exclaimed.

"We can save it," Beck added. "Just drop them off at the collection spots."

The flip flops are shipped off to TerraCycle were they will be shredded and melted. The rubber will be used to make new products such as new garbage cans, new tires, playground equipment, football fields, tracks and much more.

Beck and VanBuskirk created fliers they could easily change for collection days at different events.

For example one of the fliers is for the upcoming home games for the Clarkston Freshman and JV Football team and another is for the girls basketball games at the middle school.

"If they bring two or more pairs of flip flops they get a free popcorn," they smiled.

The students will collect at the freshman football games at the junior high school and the JV games at the high school, both scheduled for Oct. 11 and Oct. 18.

"You should bring in your flip flops because it is super easy," said Beck. "It is not a lot of work. It lessens the landfills which helps our planet and the environment. Why would you want to throw away instead of helping the environment?"

They will also earn points through TerraCycle which is turned into money for the middle school's Green School program.

"We are hoping to win the green ribbon away by doing the most with our ASL project," VanBuskirk added.

"Only two schools in Michigan receive the ribbon every year," Beck said.

Through ecology based ASL class, students learn while helping out their environment. For more information, please contact Pierson at

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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