Bureo Skateboards turned heads this summer when they introduced an eco-conscious skateboard made of upcycled sea trash from Chile to the action sports world. Their boards and story have been met with critical acclaim from media and skate insiders alike, but it's their most recent recognition that may be the young company's most important to date.
That acknowledgment came from outdoor brand Patagonia, and it came in the form of a seed investment and unique partnership offering up the outdoor brand's financial stamp of approval while providing sustainability for the growing eco-skate movement.
"Bureo is not your typical startup--they've invented an incredible recycling program by rallying the fishing industry in Chile to turn plastic ocean waste into a great product," said Patagonia Chief Executive Rose Marcario. "We're investing in Bureo's vision to scale their business to a global level and make a serious dent in the amount of plastic that gets thrown away in our oceans."
The investment is part of Patagonia's $20 Million and Change fund, which was launched in 2013 to help environment-minded startups bring their ideas to fruition. The 41-year-old outdoor brand is one of the most well known brand advocates for the outdoors, donating 10 percent of their profits to environmental groups for over 30 years. Now, Patagonia has taken their efforts a step further, investing in the efforts of others with similar visions.
That's where Bureo came in.
"We really could not ask for a partner more aligned with our mission," said Bureo co-founder and Chief Executive David Stover. "Their support came at a critical phase in our project, and now allows us to expand our collection programs in Chile, in addition to developing new projects abroad."
Bureo is hoping to scale its operation and provide its unique upcycling program, called "Net Positiva," to more villages up and down the Chilean coast. The initiative collects derelict plastic fishing nets and, using a custom resin formula developed specifically by Bureo, turns the nets into workable skate decks.
The boards are now available in select U.S. retail locations and online.
While the operation is still in its early stages, Bureo has made positive strides, and the Patagonia partnership is just the next step in what they hope is a long journey.
"We set out to make an inspiring product by incorporating sustainable design and innovative features, and making a board that everyone would enjoy riding," said Kevin Ahearn, Bureo director and designer. "We want to show people that this material isn't a burden or a waste, but an incredible raw material with great potential for upcycling."
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