Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Starboard Achieves Gold Level Status ECOBOARDS

Tags: , , Blue Life Choices, Equipment, Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies
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We feature Starboard as an example of a “Blue” company leading others, sharing innovation and making a difference at the manufacturing stage of their products. We are happy to share this Press Release by Brett Giddings – Programs Manager at Sustainable Surf:
STARBOARD BECOMES THE FIRST MAJOR SUP BRAND TO PRODUCE GOLD LEVEL ECOBOARDS – VERIFIED BY SUSTAINABLE SURF
WATCH VIDEO
The First Gold-Level Board – Verified By Sustainable Surf

Starboard – a SUP and windsurf brand with 25 years of innovative board building and design – reaches Sustainable Surf’s Gold Level status for their Blue Carbon technology board range.
It’s no small task – requiring multiple audits of source materials, building facilities and processes, and for a brand as large as Starboard, commitment to helping the environment on a company-wide level.

End-Grain Balsa Boasts Honeycomb Properties

Starboard’s Blue Carbon technology makes them the 1st SUP Brand to mass-produce a Gold Level ECOBOARD SUP. Gold Level is awarded for using sustainable materials, sourced from responsible supply chains, with improved manufacturing processes.  Working closely with Sustainable Surf, Starboard developed several eco-conscious innovations from scrutinizing the materials used and how they build their boards.

Zane Schweitzer – Sustainable Surf Ambassador

“One of the most satisfying parts of my work is the challenge to redesign our products to lower the environmental impact and achieve higher performance.  Sustainable Surf is setting the goal posts for the industry to not only fast track, but to showcase how quickly and easily it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet.”

Ollie O’Reilly – SUP Product Manager.

“The team at Sustainable Surf continue to be impressed and inspired by Starboard’s holistic commitment to sustainability and ocean-health. Our mission to protect and preserve ocean health starts with people and brands making better choices everyday – just like the ECOBOARD SUPs produced by Starboard, especially their new range of Gold Level models. We look forward to seeing the next round of eco-innovations from the team at Starboard.”

Brett Giddings – Sustainable Surf.

Eco Innovations involved in reaching gold level include:

Natural end grain balsa replaces PVC foam on the full deck and bottom. “End Grain” Balsa is a natural sandwich structure that is lightweight with incredible sheer strength when compared to conventional petroleum PVC foam. The carbon footprint is actually climate positive, meaning it offsets more than it consumes to use it.

ECOBOARD Project Verified 33% Plant-based bio Resin is used to laminate the entire board.

Main Inserts switching to be made from up-cycled fishing nets sourced from India. Akulon ECO is produced by DSM, a leader in sustainability.

IQ centre carry handle is made from recycled ABS.

All traction pads will be made from post-industrial waste. Recycled EVA has a high UV resistance in some colours than virgin EVA, so the pads stay the same colour for longer. Using recycled EVA reduces the amount of petroleum used by 50%.

Natural Balsa wood is now at the core of all of Starboard’s composite fins, avoiding plastic while improving flex and reducing weight. Balsa core fins made with bio-resin are up to 31% lighter on certain fin sizes.

For every board made, Starboard plants one mangrove tree, absorbing 1 ton of CO2 over a 20 year lifespan.

All packaging for accessories is now made of cardboard, with the exception of the dust bag made out of recycled plastic

In addition, all board bags are made from up-cycled PET from plastic bottles. An average of 52 bottles makes 1 typical bag.

And as an added benefit, Starboard has found most of these up-cycled materials outperform the original virgin materials.

In addition, Starboard is involved with several initiatives to reduce their footprint and impact on the environment:

Carbon Net Positive – Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park in Myanmar

Plastic Disclosure Project

SUP kids education program.

Education of local schools about plastic issues.

Sustainably-built offices at Starboard HQ, including solar power.

Frequent community cleanups

Partners for the Oceans with Sustainable SurfParleyTrash Hero and Watertrek.

Political lobbying for stricter plastic policies in ASEAN.

Starboard conducts full Life Cycle Analysis of their company’s carbon footprint available here.

Starboard is taking responsibility for its role in the plastic industry by offsetting their plastic footprint. This involves calculating exactly how much plastic goes into production and are now removing 48 metric tons of ocean plastic in 2018 to create a positive impact on the planet – instead of a negative one. For every board sold – Starboard collects 2 kg of ocean plastic. Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program funds local cleanups and puts a financial value on discarded plastic.

For more information on Starboard Eco initiatives visit Starboard Blue Projects

Future Stewards of the Ocean – Journal Solutions

Tags: , , , Blue Life Choices, Plastic Pollution, Schools, Solution Strategies
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Upstream solutions? WE are the upstream. WE are the ones who can (one by one) turn off our personal “plastics into the ocean” tap. When the gushing stream of plastics into the water, land and air is so huge it might seem that turning off (or turning down) our own little tap is almost meaningless.

This is absolutely NOT the case, and we all know it in our heart.

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Cover Art by Liz Cunningham, author of Ocean Country – Copyright 2018

The habit of writing about intention, gratitude and actions is a powerful practice. We can make a “blue life” choice and write about it in our Blue Life Journal. We can then share our commitment and action on our social media, we talk about it in conversation with a friend, we turn down our tap.

More importantly, we connect with others who begin to do the same.

We may not be on an expedition in Indonesia, but thank goodness 5 Gyres IS!

We may not be measuring plastic across the oceans of the world and creating a network of innovators who can re-design materials, but thank goodness Cyrill Gutsch and Parley for the Oceans is.

Do not underestimate individual action repeated consistently. We are leading change where it will matter most. Our personal habits and choices will turn off the taps where it is need most – UPSTREAM from the plastic garbage patches killing our oceans. (Get your Blue Life Journal and start today)

Never think your choices are less important – remember that collectively we created the problem as a human member of the plastics dilemma. Together, we are the ones who will solve it.

The time is NOW to engage
the future stewards of the ocean in the process.

The optimism, perspective and ideas of youth are exactly what we all need. For that reason, we offer a Blue Life Curriculum to teachers in grades 4-8 at NO CHARGE. It includes: kids_nature

  • Comprehensive Teacher handbook
  • All slide decks (with online video)
  • List of each You Tube video for ease in obtaining “green light” for use in the classroom
  • Scripts for each slide deck (PDF)
  • Worksheets for each slide deck (Google Forms and PDF)
  • PDF (printable) copies of the Blue Life Journal for Kids
  • Explanation and Alignment to standards (Technology, writing, character education, environment, STEM careers, Service Learning)
  • Access to additional/optional activities
  • Resources and Supplemental Materials for expanding as interest dictates

If you are interested in learning more, fill out the form on our CONTACT page. If you already have a program that includes journal writing, character education, environmental studies, a “green” club or a focus on STEM careers, you will love the Blue Life Curriculum. 

Our mantra we hope you ado

Steps Toward Solutions: Beat Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies
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The Ocean seems so vast – is that why it has been treated like a dump for generations? The ocean provides us with everything we need: food, oxygen, inspiration and jobs. It also regulates the climate. In spite of our survival depending on the Ocean, a whole garbage truck’s worth of plastic ends up in the ocean every minute, and we are way overdue in doing something about the problem. The good news is that this is a problem that can be solved. Innovators who network, like Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans, show us the power of many of us connecting and innovating. That’s the premise behind sharing the Blue Life Journal with as many people as possible.

Plastic pollution in the ocean was documented by researchers as far back as 1970. For everyone else, 2017 was probably the year when their eyes were seriously opened. Images of the plastic problem  on beaches in all corners of the world are just the tip of the “disaster iceberg.” What we cannot see far out in the ocean, the plastic gyres, where currents swirl plastic into massive islands of waste, and the microplastics continue to expand. Groups like 5Gyres.org are providing hope and research in that area.

The problem seems beyond manageable, but our awareness of solution-opportunities is a huge step in the right direction no matter where we live or work. The following is from an article by Nina Jensen, Chief Executive Officer, X Four-10 / REV, – published March 2, 2018. We are inspired by her insight and expertise.

Eight essential steps we can take

1. We must reduce our plastic dependency

We use an incredible quantity of single-use plastic items, such as straws, plastic bags, packaging, plastic cups, plates and cutlery. We must put an end to it. An increasing number of countries have now imposed a ban on disposable plastics and plastic bags, or established concrete targets for reducing plastic consumption and waste. This effort must be scaled up, so that global plastic consumption goes down. You can do your part by refusing to use these products.

2. Increased producer responsibility

Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled, and leading plastic manufacturers are planning to increase production by almost a third over the next five years. In 1974, the average per capita plastic consumption was 2kg. Today, this has increased to 43kg! This is taking the world in the wrong direction. Instead, alternatives to non-degradable plastics must be developed, and the industries responsible for the major plastic wastes must be targeted with specific industry agreements and producer liability arrangements, with requirements for handling, collection and reuse of waste and broken plastic equipment.

A member of Algeria's Under the Sea diving club collects plastic bottles.

A member of Algeria’s Under the Sea diving club collects plastic bottles. Image: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

3. Increase fees and taxes on polluting plastics

Most of the plastics used today are produced from oil, and are a source of both climate emissions and pollution. As an example, in Norway only 0.5 percent of the plastic is renewable. Despite that, fossil plastic is still cheaper to make and buy than the renewable. Governments need to investigate implementing a tax or fee on polluting plastics. The fees must be changed so that recycled plastic becomes cheaper than fossil.

4. Increased waste management where the problem is greatest

The bulk of plastic waste comes from developing countries. Rapid population growth and a swelling middle class means the consumption of plastic is increasing faster than the capacity to handle the plastic waste, and therefore much of the excess ends up in the sea. China and Indonesia are among the countries that produce the most plastic waste. As part of the solution, an international aid programme should be established to develop waste management and recycling infrastructure.

5. Implementation of the zero vision for ocean plastic

In December 2017, the UN Environment Assembly adopted a global goal to stop the discharge of plastic to the sea. As a follow-up, an international agreement with firm targets and time frames for implementation should be established, ensuring the mapping of sources of marine waste, increased market responsibility to prevent new propagation and strengthening of waste management globally.

6. Increased mapping, surveillance and research

There is still much we do not know about the plastic problem. Researchers estimate that more than 70 percent of the plastic ends up on the sea floor. Over time, it breaks down into tiny particles, but we do not know what happens to this material or how to get rid of it. The efforts to map and monitor, as well as conduct research on the negative effects, must be strengthened. An important initiative in this direction is REV, the world’s largest research and expedition vessel, which aims to solve the biggest challenges around the ocean, including a dedicated effort on plastic.

7. Stop the flow of plastic waste into the sea

Around 80 percent of the plastic in the ocean is suspected to come from activities and industry on land. This can include everything from car tyres, technical sports equipment and fleece clothing, to cigarette butts and cotton buds. Everyone can and should contribute to the solution. For example, you can participate in clean-up operations, cut your own plastic consumption and of course always pick up any garbage you find along your way.

8. Increased funds for clean-up

To solve the plastic problem, we must ensure that action and clean-up operations are undertaken in areas where the problem is the greatest. Much of the work, however, is hampered due to the lack of financial resources. By establishing a global ocean fund, with waste management and clean-up of marine areas high on the agenda, we will be one step closer towards the goal: a future without plastic and marine pollution in our ocean.