“I think that if it wasn’t for initiatives like Waste to Waves, we would hurt ourselves faster. Which is what we humans love to do. Waste to Waves is another small step in the right direction.” – Duke Aipa, AIPA surfboards
We’ve all heard the same broken record: styrofoam is bad for the environment. But what are people doing about it? A couple years back, ocean advocates from Sustainable Surf and Markofoam introduced Waste to Waves to turn our trash into treasure by recycling EPS foam into surfboard blanks.
Duke Aipa, son to legendary Hawaiian Ben Aipa and shaper for the family business, recently shaped a board for the Surfrider Foundation commemorating its 30th Anniversary. For this board, Aipa used a recycled blank provided by Ty at Markofoam called Envirofoam. “The blank shaped out no differently than any other EPS blank,” Aipa says. “Bare in mind I am not a fan of EPS to begin with but as far as a comparison — it’s no different than a fresh blank.”
But this process takes two to tango. Aipa makes a point saying: “Ultimately, it’ll take surfers and shapers being educated and coming together for a common goal: our oceans preservation.”
So fact being, the program can’t work without your help. Yet despite its longer run time, people are still confused on how to recycle their own boards.
Well, let us break it down for you.
1. Round up the rubbish EPS foam.
The foam must be clean, white, #6, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam. EPS foam is just a fancy name for the styrofoam that protects your new TV, computer or furniture in its packaging. This is the exact same foam used for epoxy boards. Neither food containers nor soft foam will be accepted.
2. Spot a surf shop participating in the Waste to Waves program.
If you live in or near California, there are a good handful of surf shops participating in Waste to Waves, so check out if any of these shops are near you!
3. Drop it off at the Waste to Waves collection box.
Saying goodbye is always tough, but just know that your foam is going to a much better place.
Not really, but then this happens.
5. Ask your shaper to make your next board from recycled EPS foam.
These boards shape the same and surf the same as your average “un-recycled” board. If you want to try it out for yourself, ask your shaper to use a Marko Foam blank.
“I’m sure there is a clutch of people that want recycled blanks that will ask for it,” says Aipa. “But, popularly its like converting a carnivore to be a vegan— you gotta educate people to the point where they can make a decision they want to make.”
To learn more about Waste to Waves and figure out if you’re ready to convert.