Rushing to rip on my wetsuit, I am met with a kick of adrenaline — whether it’s a quick dip in the morning, or a marathon session on a long anticipated surf trip, I live for these moments. Surfing may be a hobby for some, but it is a lifestyle for most. However, my connection with the ocean has been interrupted by the growing presence of plastic pollution in our lineups. Frustrated, I joined two friends who shared my passion and wanted solutions.
Researching the sources and types of materials entering our waterways, we were struck by the volume of harmful fishing nets in the ocean and the lack of infrastructure in place to manage this waste. So we set up Bureo, a company with a vision to find solutions through innovating positive sustainable products. Seizing an opportunity from the government of Chile, we relocated to set up a fishnet collection and recycling program, using up-cycled nets to make our first product: plastic cruiser skateboard decks. And now, after supported by a network of mentors who recognize the value in our efforts, we are proud to launch our first skateboard deck, the Minnow.
As our project evolves, we discover innovative efforts finding sustainable solution. An early read for the team was Plastic Ocean by Captain Charles Moore, which paints a picture for the evolution of our reliance on plastic and describes the discovery of the notorious Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And we have also been inspired by the growing global community to protect our oceans, connecting with the efforts of several organizations similarly focused on ocean conservation and sustainable development. Take IndoSole, a California/Bali based company making sustainable sandals from repurposed tires. Or Interface, a global carpet manufacturer, who has partnered with the Zoological Society of London on the Net Works project to spin recycled fishnets into carpets. We see this mentality as the future.
[SEE SLIDESHOW ABOVE FOR OUR 7 ORGANIZATIONS INSPIRING CHANGE FOR OUR OCEANS. SCROLL OVER IMAGES TO READ CAPTIONS.]
Through our work, we have moved a little closer to understanding the scale of waste in our oceans. Upon our arrival in Chile, many of the fishermen did not understand the concept of recycling. With our product we have been able to show the fisherman and the market the extended value of these materials and the importance of keeping them out of our oceans.
We know that we are not going to solve the ocean’s problems with sustainable skateboards alone, but we believe by making a positive product we can do our part in preventing ocean waste, bring awareness to the issue and inspire others to make a difference. Beyond our fishnet collection programs, we are active in local beach clean-up in our home country and abroad, and we plan to innovate new products and find more ways to collaborate in these efforts.
We encourage you to get involved to turn the tide on this critical issue for our ocean through:
- Rethinking plastic consumption and taking care to recycle
- Supporting sustainable products and legislation to improve design and influence suppliers and producers
- Joining local beach-clean up efforts
Remember: every bit counts!