Full disclosure, I wrote this article with the general intent
of making some connection between the holiday season’s association with the
color green and the virtues of green (as in
‘bio-friendly’) surfboard building practices. I was going to do a little
research to figure out the significance of that color to the holidays, probably
crack a few puns to relate the two things, and then cleverly shift to my main
point of environmentally conscious craftsmanship. It was going to be a jolly
ol’ time. Turns out holiday green is only a thing because of some weird
nonsensical stuff the Romans and Egyptians used to do with plants in the
winter… or something like that. After
a thirty-minute tangent Googling some generally useless information, it seemed best
to just skip that whole song and dance and get right to it.
So anyways, we all know green is
good. Surfing is inextricably connected to the world’s system of interconnected
ecosystems, and therefore protection and preservation will always be in our
best interest. Here at Foam E- Z we laud the efforts of suppliers,
manufacturers, and individuals who strive to reduce the impact us board
builders unavoidably leave on the environment. It’s our hope that by highlighting
these efforts, we can help inspire others to follow suit and find more ways to
improve our methods.
these are by no means the only companies we support who are making a positive
impact, here are two companies that have recently been making a difference that
we are stoked on, as well as a brief guide on ways you can reduce your own
individual board building footprint.
- Joey Estrada
- Joey Estrada
U.S. Blanks…Now 100% Solar Made
Recently U.S. Blanks has taken up the charge by converting their Los Angeles based factory to run entirely on solar power. This is the latest move from the surfboard blank mainstay that has made a name for itself by proudly producing their diverse line of 90+ different blank models entirely within the United States, while upholding California’s strict environmental guidelines.
With the installation of their new grid of 680 solar panels to their factory this past month, they will not only be able to run their entire production on the suns energy, they will be producing enough to contribute some back to the grid!
“Carbon footprint reduction has influenced every decision made at US Blanks. With our 680 solar panels, our goal is to generate more energy than what is required to fuel our factory and to contribute that energy back to the grid.”
-Jeff Holtby, US Blanks
Entropy Resins… The Amazing Sustainable Bio-Epoxy
Entropy Resins aren’t exactly new to the game of the eco-friendly glassing materials. They have spent the better part of the last few years creating and refining alternative epoxy resins that have increased bio content for a reduced carbon footprint. To understand a little more about their resin and what sets them apart, we did a little interview some of its creators here.
FeZ: How, in general, is your resin made that differs from other epoxies to make it more bio friendly?
Entropy: “So what we do is replace as much petroleum as possible in base raw materials with bio content without sacrificing performance of the resin. We do this by integrating the bio-content in to epoxy molecules that are chemically identical to traditional epoxy. However the bio-content is significant and measurable.
This bio content is all plant matter, mostly pine saps, oils, etc., that are sourced from the waste stream of the food and chemicals processing industry. We also derive waste from bio-fuels production that are processed into our resins. Essentially we are up-cycling other industries’ waste.
This is important because it minimizes the energy, water, and chemicals used to make our resin vs 100% petroleum based chemistries, again, replacing as much petroleum as possible with this food & fuel waste bio content. Other than that, the basic properties and methods of creating our resin are about the same (all resin manufacturers have their own techniques, formulas, etc which make them all unique in one way or another).
It just so happens that over the last 8 years, we have perfected our formulas and methods, and now have a leading resin compared any other brand out there. There is a reason why Channel Islands make all their epoxy boards with Entropy, as well as all Firewire/Slater Designs, Mayhems, Roberts, Pyzels, Maurice Coles, and an endless number of the "smaller guys" (usually higher quality builds) are moving over to use our resin exclusively...taking away the sustainability, the resin is just out performing everything else on the market!
Being transparent about our bio-content and how we verify and measure the impact of our bio-content is the key differentiator for us (i.e. not just claiming ‘bio’ but measuring the impact on the environment of that material). We’ve also listened to the market, and continuously worked to give them clearer and faster curing resins with great workability and cure times… all while balancing our bio-content and verification.”
FeZ: What does the percentage of 'bio-content' mean?
Entropy: So with regards to the percentage of Bio content. Our products have varying degrees of "bio content"...the ONE sits in at around 38-40%. The latest version of ONE was actually reduced to 30% bio-carbon content this year. We did that to give our users a much clearer, and better performing version. It’s still USDA Bio-preferred certified though, and the highest bio-content available resin today.
The CLR and BRT come in around 21%...now the important thing to note is that this number reflects the mixed content (Resin and Hardener cured). There are a lot of other companies out there that will throw wild number like 50 %...They may not be lying, but they are likely talking about just one component...either the A side or B side.
Also, we only report ‘bio-carbon’ content (i.e. carbon atoms only). Some other companies claim a total ‘bio-mass’ number (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen atoms, etc.)… This is an important distinction, because there is no way to measure and verify total ‘bio-mass’ today. You can only measure bio-carbon content, (per below) and the USDA only recognizes bio-carbon measurements. Therefore, that’s what we go by. Customers need to be careful about everyone throwing around bio-content percentages, and should take the time to understand this distinction. They should look for testing as done by ASTM D6866.
Once you combine the two, that percentage will go down. In order to get USDA certified (our ONE system) you have to have a minimum of 25% in the finished product...so that means A and B fully cured.
However, Bio content is only half the story with our resin.
Bio content doesn't really mean anything if you can't do it right. You have to focus more on the overall carbon footprint of a product, bio or not. We have gone so far as to have a 3rd part organization called SCS Global, do a Life Cycle Analysis on our products and company as a whole. They did an extensive audit of our company, from where we source the raw materials, how we manufacture, every truck, boat, plane, bottle, etc. to show our over all carbon footprint. Compared with standard epoxy resin systems, we have 40% less of a carbon footprint and continuing to improve on that daily. And this isn't something you can just pick up and do...If another resin manufacturer was going to switch to implementing bio content, chances are their overall carbon footprint will go up as they have to change their whole manufacturing. We have spent the last 8 years refining and dialing ours in.
FeZ: What are some of the long and short term benefits (from an environmental standpoint) of using your bio-resin over more standard resins?
Entropy: As stated above, the manufacturing of our resin and the way we run our business is much more sustainable compared to other resin companies. We also are a 1% for the Planet member, and probably the only chemical/ resin company to do that. 1% of our sales go to non-profits working to reduce climate change, and wildlife and land preservation. Lastly, we only sell bio-based resins. It’s not just a product line for us, it’s the entire mission and purpose of our company.”
~ Now It’s Time For You To Do Your Part ~
Ah, the “three R’s.” So thoughtful. So relevant. So cheesy. Cheesy though they may be, they make for one hell of a catchy pneumonic device to make sure you never forget how simple it is to do your part. Jack Johnson may sing a song about it to elementary school kids, but the same rules still apply to you as an adult, and doubly so if you’re making surfboards. Let’s be honest, it is inherently a dirty process. It’s your duty to heed a few simple steps, with some help from the “three r’s” to make it less so… here’s how.
- Measure the material you need at any given time carefully. From choosing the correct blank size, cutting only the amount of cloth you need, to measuring out the right amount of resin, less waste is more.
- Plenty of cutaway materials throughout the shaping/glassing process can be repurposed in one way or another. Extra foam/dust after shaping? Save it for ding repairs. Extra cloth after cutting it to size? Save it for ding repairs. Extra material from your stringers or hardened resin? Use it for leash loops or tail blocks!
|Recycled Resin Tailblock and Leash Loop by Pierson Shapes|
- Set up an acetone station with two to three buckets of acetone (was materials from dirtiest bucket to cleanest) in order to preserve tools such as gloves, spreaders, and even acetone for repeated use.
- Keep a designated set of shaping/glassing clothes and shoes that you don’t mind thrashing. The longer you can make ‘em last, the less waste you create.