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A guilt-free flip-flop

The humble flip-flop is the world’s most popular shoe.

About 3 billion new pairs of these little plastic sandals are made globally every year. Eventually, they wind up as non-biodegradable trash in landfills, rivers and oceans.

It’s a surprisingly big environmental footprint for something that seems so inconsequential.

“One of the largest pollutants in the ocean is polyurethane from flip-flops and other shoes that have been washed or thrown into rivers and flow into the ocean,” says Stephen Mayfield, a UC San Diego professor of biology.

Mayfield, along with chemist Skip Pomeroy and their students at UC San Diego, may have found a solution.

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