Bureo Skateboards Lands Investment from Patagonia

Lauren Daley for the Huffington Post:

What if you could not only clean the ocean, but turn the pollution you collect into something people want? That’s the basic idea behind Bureo Skateboards. They also compensate the fishermen for the fishing net.

With the motto “Skateboards for plastic-free oceans,” and the slogan “Ride your Footprint,” Bureo aims to reduce the amount of sea pollution by recycling discarded fishing nets — which make up 10 percent of the world’s ocean pollution — into skateboard decks.

Three surfers and skateboarders — Ben Kneppers of Mattapoisett, Mass., David Stover of Block Island, R.I., and Kevin Ahearn Montauk, NY — co-founded Bureo Skateboards, a sustainable skateboard company based in Santiago, Chile, earlier this year.

The boards are manufactured through the team’s initiative, “Net Positiva” — Chile’s first-ever nationwide fishnet collection/recycling program. It provides fisherman with disposal points for old nets, essentially allowing Bureo to collect the ocean’s recycling bins and mold the old stuff into something of value.

The nets are then separated, cleaned, placed in large reusable sacks and transported back to a recycling and manufacturing facility in Santiago using “dead-head trucks” — otherwise empty trucks already returning to the plant, so as to not waste extra fuel. There, they’re shredded, pelletized and injection-molded into skateboard decks. Each board is then quality tested, with defect boards fed back into the recycling process allowing for zero waste in production.

They’re also providing a free service to the fishermen, who would otherwise have to pay to throw the nets into landfills — a privatized business in Chile. They also compensate the fishermen, paying them the current market the fishing net.

“It’s a win-win,” said Kneppers, adding that the name “Bureo” comes from the language of the Mapuche, the native Chileans, and means “the waves.”

Article continues at HuffPo.

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