The surf industry and its business have over the year become cohesive with preservation efforts of beach areas and waters that are the lifeblood of the sport. While the environment is always at the forefront of people's minds, in order for the business side of things to flourish, sacrifices to the environment have been made through the disposal of leftover polyurethane dust that comes from shaping a surfboard from a block of foam.
Along with evolution and advancements in board technology, has finally come an advancement in environmentally sound manufacturing practices through the introduction of Spillinex Certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as an environmentally safe sorbent for use during the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, Spillinex is a powder compound that is used to hold and absorb various liquids, leaving clean water in its wake.
So where does surfboard dust come into play? Surfboard dust accounts for 80% of the Spillinex makeup. "We collect the polyurethane dust, sift out debris, then grind/pulverize as needed to get it to the acceptable particle size to be most effective for our intended use," says Spillinex CEO Tom Rossi. "Then we add other 100% recycled proprietary compounds to make the final product as efficient as possible per our guidelines."
Spillinex collects about 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of dust a month from brands and donates one cent per pound of reused dust to the SIMA Environmental Fund which promotes twenty organizations that are focused on the enhancement and preservation of the ocean and its environment. "They take pretty much all our PU foam cuttings, except rail cuts. We have to keep it separate from the EPS residue," says Matt Biolos, co-founder of Lost International, showing just how much waste Spillinex is relieving from brands.
Several brands have already jumped on board to donate their excess dust to Spillinex including: Lost Surfboards, Channel Islands, Dewey Weber Surfboards, Soul Stix, Stone Steps Manufacturing, and T. Patterson Surfboards, as well as foam manufacturers US Blanks and Surf Blanks America and also cutting house Pro-Cam. "The SIMA media efforts are getting the word out very well," says Rossi. "Response has been very rewarding. Everyone we encounter in the surf industry has been totally supportive. It's really a great thing to be a part of this group of people."
"As a surfboard brand owner and the Chairman of the SIMA Board Builder Committee, I know I can speak for most surfboard manufacturers when I say how excited I am about being involved with the team from Spillinex to help re-purpose our excess foam dust," says Shea Weber, SIMA Board Builder Committee Chairman and President of Dewey Weber Surfboards. "Not only have they found a home for our dust, but they've also come up with a compound utilizing it so that it actually helps protect the environment. The board builder community is passionate about protecting the environment and I want to thank Spillinex for taking the initiative to reach out to the SIMA Board Builder Committee and for allowing us to help them connect with some of our industry's leaders to make this dream a reality."
As the word spreads about what Spillinex is doing for the surf industry and for the environment, the momentum is sure to continue to build and pick up more contributing brands along the way. "I like the idea of putting waste to use in ways that aren't forced," says Biolos. "So many recycling programs seem to create inferior products that use marketing to cry you into choosing them, and use things like Ethanol fuel that drive up the prices of corn and use more energy to create than they provide. This is so simple and makes sense – use the foam to soak up oil spills…"
As the future looks bright for Spillinex's efforts within the surf industry, Rossi adds, "As demand for energy continues to grow, it is inevitable that spills will continue to be an unfortunate part of our lives worldwide. We at Spillinex are committed to do all we can to help make our planet a safer, better, healthier and more enduring place for all humankind."