Kiwis love their jandals. It wouldn’t be summer without them. Everyone knows the classic Kiwi BBQ; beer, cricket and jandals. What trip to the beach would be complete without a pair of jandals? The only footwear for summer! Us kiwis love our jandals so much that some die-hard fans will wear them everywhere, even tramping through the Himalayas (true story). Every jandal lover dreads the day the jandal finally gives its last gasp.
With all jandals comes the inevitable frustration when they unexpectedly wear out. We have all heard of the bread bag tag hack to stop the knobby bit pulling through the sole after a ‘blow out’. A brilliant bit of ingenuity. But what happens when the knob comes off altogether? It’s always been the end of the jandal. No bread bag tag can fix that! Almost invariably the break happens at the most inconvenient moment. You know what I mean, in the middle of the road causing an embarrassing stumble or halfway through a game of backyard cricket causing you to miss an easy catch. The last time it happened to me I was halfway through the walk to school on a baking hot afternoon to collect my kids!
In January we had to buy a new pair of jandals for Miss 14 after the knobby bit parted company with the rest of her jandal strap in Taihape at the start of our summer holiday. We hurriedly searched out a new pair and she was happy again. A fortnight ago the knobby bit came adrift during an energetic game of poison pole at Youth Group. Not only was she infuriated to lose the game (she’s very competitive), she was pretty disappointed as the new jandal had lasted barely a month and it wasn’t a budget brand either.
My husband had watched vinyl layers at work welding the vinyl seams in a hospital fit out. He got to thinking about the problem. He got a bee in his bonnet that there must be a way to fix the jandals. So after some thought he decided to try welding the knobby bit back on to the broken strap with a soldering iron.
First he made sure it was clean and dry with no dirt or sand adhering to the broken surfaces.
Then he simply made sure the soldering iron was hot enough to melt the strap, and carefully melted both bits at the same time before pressing the pieces together and holding till the repair cooled.
After a bit of wrestling to get the newly reattached knobby bit back through the hole in the sole, hey presto! One fixed jandal ready to go again. He actually repaired both pairs of Miss 14’s jandals so now she has two trusty pairs of jandals again.
More than a week later the repairs seem to be doing just fine. It looks like they have plenty of flip flop life in them.
Everywhere you go these days you hear the mantra reduce, reuse, recycle. There is one thing missing from that list and it is an important one. Repair. Repairing broken things is something we have forgotten about in today’s consumer society. If something breaks you are encouraged to just throw it away and go and enjoy some retail therapy as you buy another one. In order to be truly sustainable, repairing and fixing is a skill we all need to rediscover.
Of course eventually every jandal will bite the dust permanently and no amount of repair with a bread bag tag or a soldering iron will restore it to its former glory. When that day finally comes, I’ve found an awesome brand to try out.
Subs is a flip-flop company from New Zealand. Their aim is to prevent and reduce plastic waste by transforming it into high-performance, recycled plastic flip-flops. At the end of their life they can be recycled into new pairs of Subs.
Subs are made of recycled plastic sourced from beach clean-ups & recycling, and they pledge to remove ½ a kg of debris from our ocean ecosystems for every pair sold.
We are just waiting until someone’s jandals finally can’t be fixed so we can try them out and see what they are like. Seems like it might be a long wait now we have discovered the art of jandal soldering!
Until then, in our house the mantra is “reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair”!