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Surf Deck Pads and Internal Recycling

I love clicking around on blog (Marine Layer Productions); lots of great surf videos and funny commentary. I was surprised to see a short piece on Channel Islands surfboard deck pads, which Dane states in this post are made from scraps of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) which are “recycled” from the factory floor.

This type of material reprocessing is done very commonly with plastic products of nearly any type. For each product which is manufactured, there is a certain amount of “scrap” material that ends up on the factory floor after manufacturing; this is true, whether it be a plastic bag or a surfboard deck pad. These are the odd corners and edges which are trimmed off to get the final desired shape of the product. These odds and ends are then mixed in with the next “batch” and end up in another product.

This process is not usually considered “recycling”, as the scrap material never leaves the factory; more often it is called “internal re-processing.” True “recycling” usually assumes post-consumer waste is being recycled and made into the product.

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In any case, it is good practice from both a cost and environmental standpoint, as in the end it reduces the amount of material needed to make every surfboard deck pad.

I poked around a bit and while it looks like Channel Islands is not currently offering any deck pads billed as “recycled,” I found a few companies claiming “recycled deck pads,” including On a Mission and Sticky Bumps.

What is my recommendation for any surfer looking for “recycled” deck pads? Do your homework on the product before buying. Many of these “recycled” deck pads might be made from the same process as the Channel Islands ones; not true post-consumer recycling, just internal re-processing which reduces the amount of material waste. This is still a good thing from an environmental perspective, but it’s important to not get those two processes confused.

Updated Environmental Impacts Page

I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about the best way to present the environmental impacts arising from polyurethane foam production. I have re-organized this page to highlight the direct and indirect impact associated with P/U foam production:

Direct impacts:

  • Worker exposures to toxic chemicals (TDI)
  • Plastics pollution from foam waste which does not go to landfill
  • Toxic water pollution (not occurring in the United States; only possible in overseas production)
  • Toxic air pollution (also occurring as an indirect impact)
  • Indirect impacts:
  • Global climate change
  • Ocean acidification
  • Smog formation
  • Regional acidification (acid rain)
  • Mercury pollution in the ocean
  • Impacts from the extraction of oil and natural gas