Freedom Moses' gender-neutral slippers are available at many sustainable retailers. The sandals for both children, men and women are waterproof and available in a variety of colours! But is the brand really as sustainable as it claims to be?
The flip-flops are made from polycarbonate urethane (PCU), an artificial material. This material is an eco-friendly version of the widely used polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Several studies have shown that PVC is hugely harmful to the environment due to chemicals (dioxins) released during the manufacturing process.
PCU is made from rock salt and oil, with air and natural oils then injected into the plastic material. The production of PCU requires less fossil fuels than PVC, but it is still an artificial product. As a result, oil is still required in production, which results in greenhouse gas emissions. PCU is greener than PVC, but it is certainly not environmentally friendly.
The slippers of Freedom Moses are made in Xiamen, China. The brand guarantees on its website that it audits its factories and offers fair wages and safe working conditions to its workers. We have a hard time figuring out the exact working conditions and suppliers though.
The vegan shoe brand does not test on animals and the slippers do not contain any animal products. Since the slippers are made of artificial material though, they are not free of microplastics, which have an impact on biodiversity. Read more about microplastics here.
The slippers made of PCU are easy to recycle. This is in contrast to PVC, where it is cheaper to make a new shoe than to recycle the material. So Freedom Moses' flip-flops can perfectly get a second life when they are broken. Shoes made from mono-materials are much easier to recycle anyway, than when a mix of materials are used.
Unfortunately, we could not find a collection program on the website. The harsh reality is that the slippers are not sorted out at existing waste processing companies and therefore end up with the rest of the garbage pile. Because of this, the flip-flops do not get a second life, a missed opportunity! We hope that Freedom Moses will take the plunge and start a collection program in the future. Unfortunately, so far the brand did not respond to our requests for more information or an interview.