Every day, the average American goes through four pounds of trash, businesses being a key contributing factor of this waste. When shopping for shoes, so rarely do we think of the actions our brands have to take during the process of manufacturing. Reef, better known as the premiere sandal and beachwear company of surfers worldwide, is taking a sustainable innovation towards eco-wear focused on minimizing waste and using recycling methods to create their unique leather footwear. The Reef director, Mike Gass, is consistently designing and researching recyclable alternatives. “In the future, we’re going to be implementing a lot of the same construction tactics all across Reef so as to limit the amount of waste generated in production.”
The Reef Redemption Program is the Reef brand’s commitment to providing jobs for environmentally conscious and socially responsible business practices. The line’s priority is to develop products that involve as little environmental impact as possible by using non-toxic materials and glues and the smallest amount of material possible. Stitching, threads and the upper-liner of the sandals are typically made from recycled water bottles and the sole is 51 percent recycled. They also used an individual mold to make each sole 30 percent recycled rubber, this reduces the waste down to 1 percent. The Reef designers even add a puzzle-piece logo to each sole as a reminder that it took creative thinking to get this sandal to fit together like a puzzle and use less waste.
Reef’s most recent collection, the We Heart Collection, is an ongoing collaboration between Reef’s design team and talented artisans from developing countries around the world. To make this collection effective, Reef purchases artisan handmade crafts and incorporates them into a special selection of Reef’s product. The We Heart Collection is designed to provide a platform for these artisans to grow their businesses, to build stronger communities and to share their beautiful crafts with the world. The We Heart Collection offers a great variety of flats, moccasins, sandals, and flip flops.
The Reef brand has even created a fund in support of environmental and humanitarian groups working to preserve waves, beaches and surrounding communities. One percent of the sales from Reef Redemption products are donated to this fund. Reef employees frequently participate in regular beach clean ups and are always looking for ways to give more back to communities through outreach and volunteer programs. In recent years, Reef’s Redemption Program has partnered with dozens of nonprofit organizations, including Project WOO, to provide aid and a higher level of living for the amazing people of Gigante, Nicaragua. Along the way they helped the town refurbish a bus, score some waves and have a great day with some local kids.