Starboard, a maker of paddle, surf, windsurf and kiteboards, and DSM, a global company that develops science-backed solutions for sustainable living, have partnered to to turn fishing nets into surfboard components. The program definitely falls in line with plenty of other initiatives around the world that upcylce discarded materials from the ocean or in landfills and create an entirely new life cycle, but it’s also sustaining a brand new segment of the fishing industry for some villages in India. According to Reuters, roughly a 1000 fishermen are paid to collect the nets, providing as much as 20 percent more monthly income for them.
When the sun rises over the horizon in the Indian village of Kuthenkuly, Jesuraja and his fellow fishermen prepare for a new day at sea. But they are not looking for fish – they are searching for abandoned fishing nets floating in the Indian Ocean to recycle into surfboards pic.twitter.com/hZfNOcWyq0
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 6, 2019
The partnership apparently started when Bangkok-based Starboard learned about DSM’s Akulon RePurposed, a “glass fibre reinforced recycle-based polyamide” made from recycled materials. Starboard now uses the Akulon RePurposed for their fins, fin boxes, SUP pumps, and “other structural parts in surfboards,” according to a 2018 press release.
“One of the most satisfying parts of our work is the challenge of redesigning our products to lower their environmental impact and achieve higher performance,” said Svein Rasmussen, Starboard’s founder and CEO. “Through this collaboration with DSM, we showcase how quick and easy it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet. We want to continuously push boundaries for more eco-innovations for our boards.”
The fishnets-to-surfboards program in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu is just one under DSM’s umbrella of initiatives. The company apparently seeks out solutions to everything from “how to feed everyone” to “tackling climate change.” Their portfolio includes developing sustainably-minded inventions and investing in sustainable businesses in Nutrition & Health, Climate & Energy, and a category they call “Resources & Circularity,” a branch that focuses on zero-waste products and programs.
“At DSM, our strategy includes developing innovative solutions and collaborations that contribute to a circular economy and aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals addressing climate change, resource scarcity, waste and pollution. We look beyond society’s current model of take-make-dispose and instead try to mimic nature and the circle of life. For example, in our collaboration with Starboard we use waste to make a long-lasting, high-value material that can again be recovered at the end of its life cycle to become something new,” Matt Gray, Commercial Director of Asia Pacific, DSM Engineering Plastics said when the partnership was announced last year.