The Rerip.com recycling program started simply as a way to reduce waste from the surf industry. We noticed that many of the boards people were throwing away or not surfing were still valuable, either as refurbished boards, canvases for art work or as furniture. Waste or by products associated in the fabrication of new boards also seemed to hold potential for creative uses. As Rerip evolves, new uses and ideas for boards are continually being tested. One of the most innovative is the use of them as concrete fillers to be utilized within the construction industry.
Through preliminary research and development many questions have been raised, however a set of central questions are now at the forefront. (Many basic questions are answered on our site.)
Is this effort and proposed action really going to reduce waste, and is it viable? What is the carbon footprint of this process, from collecting the boards to the end product? How much energy will it take to transport, deconstruct, mix and then reapply the used boards and scraps to applicable material? Would the amount of energy used be more costly than to simply allow these boards to sit in a landfill?
Current Collection and Logistics
We do know a few things about viability as we have been testing the idea for about a year now. First of all, we are amazed at how successful the program has become. We receive emails and calls almost every day from people around the world either wanting to give away a board, or replicate what we have created in their local area.
Rerip has established partnerships with the City of San Diego, Patagonia and Holmen Surf Designs to aid in promotion, education and board collection. With these partners, Rerip launched its initial program to facilitate its ability to collect large numbers of unwanted or damaged boards, as well as small amounts of cuttings, dust and old foam for R&D purposes. While there is no program in place for the scraps, there is now broad recognition across the community that surfboards can be "recycled".
Current Reuse Opportunities
Many of the donated boards are resold for low prices to local artists or given to non-profits and schools. Unrideable boards are given to EcoCentric Renovations, a green construction company and think tank in Los Angeles currently developing ways to incorporate the old boards into concrete for lightweight, non-structural applications.Sarkis Vartanian, Head of R&D at EcoCentric, has found a way to incorporate the old foam in a way that has attracted the attention of many stakeholders in the concrete industry, as well as others in the composite and reuse industries for other convergence applications. Testing is still underway and waiting for approval for public and widespread use.
Where We Are Today
Because of the tremendous outreach and support, Rerip and EcoCentric are now experiencing growth beyond our current capabilities.
To this point, we have had amazing luck every time we have reached out to the surf, environmental, and scientific communities for ideas, help and support. We are now realizing the magnitude of the program's potential and its applications outside of the surf and construction industries. In order to be able to reach our next milestone, our two companies need help. You have shown your support already by bringing out your old boards, being stoked about what we are doing and simply spreading the word. We are now in a position where if we want to execute on the opportunities within reach, we need financial support, either through sponsorship, donations or other contributions. We are also seeking expertise in life cycle analysis to validate that this program will indeed benefit us and those that come after.