Just a Drop Changemakers: Ben Morison, The Flipflopi Project

In celebration of Just a Drop’s 20th anniversary, we spoke to four inspirational people who are doing their bit to change the world we live in for the better.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Founder of Just a Drop; Ben Morison, Founder of the Flipflopi Project; Paras Loomba, Founder of Global Himalayan Expedition; and Holly Budge, Founder of How Many Elephants, shared their experience of turning inspirational ideas into sustainable initiatives which are transforming lives.

Ben Morison founded The Flipflopi Project as a direct response to the alarming degradation of the African coastline by plastics, and flip flops in particular. The FlipFlopi Project’s mission is to increase awareness of the scale of the ocean plastics problem.

‘In June 2016 we decided to try and build a boat entirely from plastic collected on beaches and roadsides in Kenya to show the potential of ‘already-used’ plastic. And two years later, using over ten tonnes of plastic waste and thousands of repurposed flipflops – we succeeded. Built on the island of Lamu using traditional dhow builders and techniques, it is the world’s very first 100% recycled plastic dhow.

But of course it has never really been about the boat... we simply want to demonstrate that single use plastic doesn’t make sense.  We hope people around the world are inspired to find their own ways to repurpose ‘already-used’ plastic.

We focused on ensuring a sustainable impact by a commitment to build the boat using only resources local to Kenya – which took three times as long and costs three times as much! We failed three times before succeeding. But what purpose would there have been to building a boat using external resources, if we are trying to set an example to people in our local environment on the east coast of Africa. These ideas wouldn’t have scale.

We achieved scale by being disciplined and keeping things local, not going for the easy option. If we were to set an example about recycling and re-purposing plastic than that was an important aspect for us.

The next step in our journey is to sail our boat to Zanzibar sharing our message along the east African coast, talking to law makers, companies and communities about what can be done to reduce plastic use and to stop plastic ending up in the environment.’

flipfloppi project