What do we mean when we say the R-Series board is "Recyclable"
For starters, we don't want an Almond surfboard to ever see the inside of a landfill.
Our commitment has always been to build custom surfboards that are worth caring for, and repairing, and passing down to the next generation. We want to build boards that will be used for decades.
When conceptualizing our R-Series board, we wanted to design a surfboard that did away with the fiberglass shell entirely, and eliminated waste at the manufacturing level. This leaves us with a product that can be used and enjoyed for many years, while keeping the door open to practically have a plan to ensure that we are not adding to any landfills in the future.
Because of our relationship with our manufacturing partner, Marko Foam, the infrastructure to process and recycle foam, and return it to the materials supplier, is in place and already happening weekly.
This relationship means we can effectively ensure that R-Series boards that meet an untimely fate are ground up and that material is used to make future R-Series surfboards.
Anywhere sustainability and marketing overlap, there are bound to be confusing terms and intentional ambiguity. Brands know that customers like certain buzz words.
Calling something "recyclable" is fairly vague. Just because a product can be theoretically recycled does not guarantee that the infrastructure is actually in place to recieve, process, and repurpose post-consumer goods.
My personal gripe with calling surfboard recyclable is that only the foam inside is able to be ground up and reused. If you have ever peeled the fiberglass off a broken surfboard, you know what an unpleasant process this is. And the overall volume of foam inside a surfboard is pretty minimal, particularly when we're talking about high performance shortboards. So the amount of material actually being recycled when you break a shortboard is quite low. There's probably more packing foam used to ship you a flat screen TV than there is inside a 5'8 shortboard.
My assumption is that it is more impactful to recycle the trimmings at the manufacturing level. When a shaper starts with a blank and whittles it down to the finished shape, a decent amount of foam is discarded in the process.
Because the R-Series board is injection-molded, there is virtually no waste at the manufacturing level, which has a great impact on our ability to reduce wasteful output.