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Skateboards to highlight ocean plastics problem

Chile – Three young entrepreneurs and sports fans have launched their own enterprise to ‘make waves’ against stray ocean plastics. Based in Chile, Ben R. Kneppers, David M. Stover and Kevin J. Ahearn have put down their own skateboards to fashion sustainable ones from discarded plastics found along the Santiago shoreline.

Their business, Bureo Skateboards, hopes to launch its first line of products next spring after acquiring US$ 10 000 worth of funding from Northeastern University’s IDEA venture accelerator and another US$ 40 000 from booster programme Start Up Chile.

According to the three friends, the company will be able to design its cruiser-type skateboards for less than US$ 10. Retail prices still have to be announced although Stover says the plastic deck alone is typically sold for anywhere between US$ 40 and US$ 60.

Aware that the cost of recycling programmes and material consistency issues have previously caused manufacturers to favour virgin over recycled plastic, Stover comments: ‘It’s relatively cheap, it’s accessible and there are a lot of headaches with the recycling projects. We said we need to make a product where the margin is going to cover the cost of this.’

Material availability will not pose a problem as there is access to between 30 and 50 tonnes of plastic from Chile’s coastlines. Furthermore, several large US retailers have shown an interest in the patent-pending recycling process.

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