Raw Dawging New Whips.
Six times Australian female champ Lilly Pollard recently raised a very interesting idea on the socials. Why oh why do we wrap new bodyboards in plastic?
As soon they’re freed from their thin protective sheath we wipe ’em, wax ’em, and punch holes in ’em for plugs.
Surely there is a way to do away with this wasteful packaging. We shot Lilly some quick questions to get her thoughts and the responses she’d received on this topic.
You recently asked the bodyboarding community if they would be happy to purchase new bodyboards with no plastic wrapping. Could you explain why you posed this question?
I think we’ve all been hearing a lot about the scary effects of plastic on the environment recently. It’s awful seeing the images of dead or ill dolphins and turtles and whales with plastic in their insides. More recently I’ve learnt that we as humans have a lot to worry about too. Micro plastics are now being observed in our bodies, and in our tiny foetus’. The latest research shows micro plastics are messing up our endocrine systems. This is serious. If you’re interested have a read:
So yeah, it’s got to the point where we all must make drastic changes, as individuals (reduce your consumerism and recycle, is a good start, it’s really not that hard!,) and put pressure on large corporations to change. It sounds dramatic but we’re literally killing ourselves and our planet.
I know change is hard, and especially in the bodyboard community we all love our plastic body boards, but I figured at the very least, we could start with the shrink wrap on our boards! To me it seems crazy that we have this plastic board that must be wrapped in plastic to be sold.
I’ve worked in a bodyboard warehouse too and I’ve seen the amount of excess plastic off cuts from just wrapping a few boards. It’s crazy!
Have you received any information as to why boards are actually wrapped in plastic?
So I’ve had discussions with Mez (FYI large scale manufacturer of many major bodyboard brands in Indo) and yes of course plastic is concerning to him and his team. While in Mez’s factory up to 95% of the foam waste is recycled, the surrounds produces a lot of dust and pollution which would dirty a “naked” bodyboard.
From Mez himself;
The dilemma with not using shrink film includes:
Boards gathering dust during storage. As you know, Indonesia has poor air quality and no mater how clean we keep the factory, dust settles on the boards each and every night. It’s relatively easy to wipe down the boards once in shrink, but labour intensive if not protected by shrink film.
Marking/ scratching when packing into and removing from the shipping cartons.
Marking/ scratching and finger marks from handling in store.
They want board protection and they assure me they have been researching suitable alternatives to plastic shrink wrap. However they don’t wish to invest in “green” alternatives that aren’t actually all that green. For example I learnt that while corn starch and sugar cane plastics (PLAs) are a good alternative to plastic and are apparently compostable, they actually require industrial composting, high heat and very specific conditions which makes the disposal of these very difficult and therefore not really an ideal alternative.
I have contacted a few people in my networks looking for alternatives, but to find an alternative eco friendly material that can be used as shrink wrap has proved difficult so far!
You conducted a poll in to your Instagram story about this topic, what were the results?
In my poll I pushed my agenda, which was to elimate board wrap altogether (maybe just a narrow cardboard wrap with board info), and of course my friends sided with me, the overwhelming response was a vote for “no wrap” but some great ideas were put forward as alternative green wraps.
I’d still prefer to see no wrap at all. But I understand reasons why not. I think if we are all open to the idea of our boards coming wrapped in something that’s non transparent, we might find a solution. Hemp board bags is a cool idea, if we reuse or upcycle. I personally love the idea of using seaweed as seaweed reigns supreme over other natural products, it is an incredibly fast growing natural product which also sequesters carbon. And for Mez, who is based in Indo, he could support the local seaweed farmers, I think it’s a win win for all. It just doesn’t look like you can currently make seaweed into a shrink wrap “plastic” but I’ll leave that to the experts to problem solve.
Michael Ostler of Handpicked said he has had no issues with putting “naked” boards in bodyboard shops, no scuff marks or damage to report, but admits his production/distribution is of a smaller scale.
I love the engagement from everyone so far making suggestions. I think we should continue it, and I hope that now we’ve all publicly put the pressure on the board brands to make a change, that a suitable alternative is found quick! I think if a company successfully creates a “green” shrink wrap or something similar, there will be some money to be made from all the bodyboard brands supporting it!
Anyone know a plastics engineer that can help?