Are Crocs Bad for the Environment

Are Crocs Bad for the Environment?

Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by Krystine

Crocs’ funky comfort inspires die-hard fans worldwide.

But some question if these polarizing shoes carry unseen environmental costs.

With plastic waste strangling ecosystems, assessing plastic-derived products under an eco-lens empowers smarter choices.

Are Crocs Bad for the Environment?

A picture of Crocs
Crocs shoes are going bio-based; The material, called Ecolibrium technology, was engineered in collaboration with global materials science company Dow. Image Credit: Fast Company

Yes, Crocs have negative environmental impacts due to their petroleum-based plastic resin material which does not readily biodegrade and accumulates in landfills and ecosystems.

Manufacturing Crocs via fossil fuel-intensive injection molding processes also carries a heavy carbon footprint.

While Crocs are recyclable in theory, limited infrastructure results in most ending up in landfills.

Overall, the plastic composition and energy-intensive production of Crocs make them detrimental to the environment.

Key Points

  • Crocs are made from Croslite, a non-biodegradable plastic resin that originates from fossil fuel feedstocks.
  • Manufacturing Crocs uses substantial energy for injection molding petroleum-based plastics.
  • Most Crocs cannot be recycled due to limited infrastructure and end up in landfills.
  • Discarded Crocs accumulate in landfills and oceans, contributing to plastic pollution.
  • Transitioning to renewable materials could improve the sustainability of Crocs.

What Materials Are Crocs Made From?

A bunch of colorful pairs of Crocs
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Croslite is primarily composed of polyethylene vinyl acetate or PEVA. Image Credit: Scienceline

Crocs consist of a closed-cell resin called Croslite – a proprietary plastic polymer blend recycled from by-products of other manufacturing processes.

This material is molded into Croc shapes along with various decorative accessories.

While Croslite avoids certain harmful additives, its base remains fossil fuel-derived plastic.

This limits biodegradability, complicating end-of-use options and resulting in plastic accumulation.

How Does Croc Manufacturing Impact the Environment?

Crocs are produced through injection molding, consuming significant energy and resources.

The company is working to improve, having installed 170,000 solar panels to offset fossil fuel use in manufacturing.

However, injection molding still requires heating petroleum-based plastics to melt, which carries heavy environmental footprints unless counterbalanced elsewhere.

More sustainability initiatives are needed.

Can Crocs Be Recycled?

Currently, Crocs’ recycled content stands at about 5%.

The company partners with Terracycle to recycle used Crocs into new shoes and products like playgrounds and bike racks.

However, most Crocs still end up in landfills as widespread infrastructure for recycling Croslite plastic shoes is lacking.

The material also becomes more degraded with each melt/reformation cycle.

Scaling recycling capacity would boost sustainability.

But ultimately, Crocs are limited by their inability to biodegrade and plastic origins.

Do Crocs Accumulate in Landfills and Oceans?

Yes. An estimated 300 million Crocs will end up in landfills over the next 20-30 years.

And Crocs’ lightweight design means they easily slip off feet and float away in the water.

Beach cleanups frequently uncover Crocs washed offshore.

Their durability delights wearers and hinders natural breakdown.

So Crocs do contribute significantly to plastic pollution accumulations harming wildlife in ecosystems on land and sea.

Could Renewably-Sourced Materials Offer Improvement?


Some shoes now use plant-based plastic substitutes from sugar cane and algae biomass which have smaller eco-footprints.

These materials harness photosynthesis rather than fossil fuels to produce plastics.

Transitioning toward renewable materials is an important step to decoupling plastics from environmental damage.

Crocs has begun incorporating some sugarcane-based plastics but much more significant change is urgently needed.

Do TOMS and Other “Eco-Friendly” Shoes Offer Sustainable Alternatives?

Not always.

While some shoes use recycled and renewable materials, assessments must evaluate entire lifecycles, manufacturing, recyclability, and transparency.

Most shoes still rely heavily on plastics and synthetics.

But certified B Corporations like Allbirds offer best practices toward sustainable footwear through third-party validation.

What are the negative impacts on Crocs?

Crocs have several negative environmental impacts.

The Croslite resin material they are manufactured from is derived from fossil fuels and does not biodegrade, leading Crocs to accumulate in landfills and oceans as plastic pollution.

The energy-intensive injection molding and plastic heating techniques used in their production also generate significant carbon emissions.

Limited recycling infrastructure results in only 5% of Crocs being recycled currently, with most discarded pairs ending up in landfills after a relatively short lifespan.

Crocs as a product can also not be easily repurposed or repaired due to their molded design.

Overall, the non-biodegradable and petroleum-based composition of Crocs makes them problematic from an environmental sustainability perspective.

Are Crocs eco-friendly?

No, Crocs are not considered an eco-friendly or sustainable shoe option.

This is because they are made from Croslite, a plastic resin material derived from fossil fuel feedstocks like ethylene and styrene.

Plastics made from fossil fuels have large environmental footprints and do not readily decompose.

Crocs are also produced using energy-intensive injection molding techniques that rely heavily on non-renewable energy sources.

While Crocs does offset some manufacturing emissions through solar and recycles a small percentage of shoes, most pairs still end up in landfills.

Their composition and manufacturing methods overall are not sustainably oriented.

What is Crocs doing for the environment?

Crocs has taken some steps towards improving the sustainability of its products and business operations.

The company has installed over 170,000 solar panels to offset fossil fuel use at its manufacturing facilities.

They have also partnered with Terracycle to recycle used Crocs into new shoes and products like playgrounds, though current recycling rates remain low.

Crocs offers limited styles featuring recycled or bio-based plastics.

Their goal is for 75% of Crocs sold to contain recycled content by 2030.

However, substantial further efforts are required to transition towards truly eco-friendly, circular production.

Key Takeaways:

  • All plastic and petroleum-derived shoes carry environmental burdens from production through disposal.
  • But conscious design and renewable materials can steadily chart the footwear industry toward ecologically restorative futures.


What are Crocs made out of?

Crocs are made out of a proprietary closed-cell resin called Croslite. This plastic polymer material is derived from by-products of fossil fuel-based plastic manufacturing processes. Exact formulations vary by style but the main ingredients are ethylene vinyl acetate and styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene.

Why are Crocs bad for your feet?

Some podiatrists caution against Crocs because their soft, lightweight design provides minimal arch support. Extended wear can allegedly cause foot pain and problems like plantar fasciitis over time compared to well-cushioned shoes. However, Crocs dispute these claims, citing American Podiatric Medical Association approval. Moderate, activity-appropriate use is key.

Are Crocs non-slip?

Original Crocs clogs provide moderate non-slip traction on many surfaces due to their flexible, grippy sole material. However, non-slip properties depend on keeping soles free of debris buildup. Other Crocs models like sandals sacrifice slip resistance for ventilation. Using Crocs Jibbitz accessories can reduce slip resistance. Caution should be exercised on extremely smooth or wet surfaces.

The team at GreenChiCafe is passionate about our natural world and preserving our planet for future generations.

Please check out our website for more content on living sustainably.

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