Innovation That Matters

Keeping surfboards out of landfills with recycling and reuse

Work & Lifestyle

We’ve seen efforts focusing to varying extents on each of the “3Rs” of waste management — reduce, reuse and recycle — but we couldn’t resist mentioning one more that recently caught our eye. It isn’t brand new, but California-based Rerip is a site that aims to help surfers resell, exchange and recycle old surfboards. Polyurethane, epoxy resin and expanded polystyrene are among the harmful compounds used to make surfboards today, Rerip points out. For that reason, its mission is “to create accountability, measurability and sustainably in the surf industry,” in the site’s own words. Toward that end, Rerip offers a marketplace for the resale of used equipment as well as facilitating the recycling of old boards. The company has implemented an organized board collection program with local San Diego retailers and city landfills that brings in about 20 boards per month. When a board is collected, its condition is evaluated for reuse potential. Those that are unrideable and broken are either used by local artists to create unique pieces of art, or they’re used in R&D efforts to help develop better materials. Rideable ones, on the other hand, are either repaired and sold through Rerip’s online board shop, or they’re given away to schools, nonprofits and people in need. UC Berkeley and Patagonia are Rerip’s partners in its sustainability efforts, which have allowed the company to divert hundreds of boards from San Diego-area landfills over the past three years, it says. A reminder, then, that even the most unlikely industries produce waste in need of recycling. One to launch in other surf-friendly parts of the world? (Related: Buying & selling used and surplus cardboard boxesRetailers recycle customers’ used clothesOld bikes to unique rides.) Spotted by: Douglas Raggio



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