The surfboard manufacturing industry is making an inevitable shift toward sustainability. It’s not yet the industry standard but there are countless people out there looking for ways to make sure the next board you buy leaves a smaller footprint on the environment. And that’s a really good thing. The more creative people get into the mix with a new technology, a new material, or just a flat out new method, the closer we’ll all be to “green” surfboards becoming the status quo.
But even eco-friendly surfboards have an environmental footprint.
Earth Technologies is one such manufacturer already on the sustainable bandwagon who claim to have reduced their waste streams by 30% compared to the standard glass shop with simple day-to-day recycling. They believe they’re close to becoming a zero waste manufacturing process but “close just isn’t good enough.” So with that in mind, they’re attempting to raise the bar for the rest of the industry by becoming the first zero-waste manufacturer…by feeding their waste to mealworms.
The Living Earth Systems is the first (and probably most unique) step in Earth Technologies’ three-step program that will push them toward zero waste. Shaping dust, wood scrap stringer waste, and veneer offcuts are sent to farms where mealworms eat the waste. The excrement becomes organic soil and boom, “surfboard fertilizer” just became a thing. According to Earth Technologies’ Kickstarter campaign, this alone cuts their current waste down by another 30%.
The second step of their new program involves repurposing other waste materials for new products altogether. Excess resin, resinated fiberglass scrap, gloves, resin containers, stir sticks, resinated tape and sanding dust are currently being used to make new surfboard fins and even handplanes. And finally, they offer incentives for customers to bring them old epoxy boards (poly boards can’t be recycled) so they can dispose of it properly, giving customers store credit in return.
Zero waste surfboards. As my dad would say, “Who’d a thunk it?”
Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Earth Technologies’ Kickstarter campaign here.