I am an avid lover of crocs. My collection is six and counting. I wear them most days a week and am a firm believer in their superiority in terms of style, comfort, and versatility. I also try and support the environment. A huge burden to the Earth is the fashion industry, which heavily pollutes the air, water, and soil. Because of this, I attempt to make educated and conscious decisions about my wardrobe, knowing that I can make an impact, even in small things. I thrift, buy sustainable products, and reuse.
One of the only products I buy without thought are Crocs. Like many others, I assumed that the famed shoe was made out of rubber or plastic. However, Crocs are made out of Croslite, which is a patented closed-cell foam resin that makes them easily washable and nonabsorbent (https://www.crocs.com.sg/c/comfort). What is the closed-cell resin made out of? The copolymer ethylene-vinyl acetate. This is commonly used in athletic shoes and is a growing environmental concern. Like any other synthetic plastic, it is not biodegradable. In addition, because of the unique material, Crocs are unable to be recycled with other plastics. Thankfully, Crocs recognizes this and accepts second-hand shoes at most of their retail stores (https://greenliving.lovetoknow.com/Crocs_Recycling). The company cleans the Crocs and send them to people around the world that need them, particularly in third world countries. While this is extremely beneficial, and reusing is always a good thing, it doesn’t take away from the unsustainable practices that nearly all factories participate in. They use intense amounts of power, emit harmful chemicals into the air and water, and create a massive quantity of waste.
Like most things, Crocs have environmental pros and cons. A professor once told me, “do what you can, it’s about the little things. Make sacrifices that you can afford.” I know that I will not give up my favorite footwear, but I’ll create concessions in other areas of my life. So the next time you’re shopping for a new pair of kicks, consider the environmental consequences to the product you are purchasing and make the most out of your money.