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Aquarium of the Pacific Holds Styrofoam Drive to Turn Trash Into Surfboards

Aquarium of the Pacific Holds Styrofoam Drive to Turn Trash Into Surfboards


December 21, 2011

Recycling Styrofoam into surfboards keeps oceans clean, protects marine animals that might mistake the foam for food, and reduces the surfboard’s carbon footprint.

The Aquarium of the Pacific is partnering with newly launched nonprofit organization Sustainable Surf to turn Styrofoam waste into surfboards. The Aquarium will host a foam collection drive on January 14 to support Sustainable Surf’s Waste to Waves program. Through this program expanded polystyrene, also known as plastic No. 6 or Styrofoam, is recycled into eco-friendly surfboards. Everyone who turns in a piece of Styrofoam at the Aquarium will receive a 20 percent-off coupon in the Aquarium’s Pacific Collection gift store valid on January 14.

This type of foam packaging is commonly used with electronics and other products that are given as popular holiday gifts. Members of the public are encouraged to save their foam packaging waste after the holidays and bring it to the Aquarium, where it will be collected and recycled into surfboards. The foam will be transported to Marko Foam in Irvine, California, to be recycled into new surfboard blanks.

Most people are not aware that the same type of polystyrene foam material used to package electronics is also used to make surfboards. Recycling the foam packaging into a surfboard eliminates 50 percent of the carbon emissions associated with manufacturing a surfboard. The new eco-friendly surfboard boasts the same performance and durability of a board made from virgin petrochemical materials. Not only does this program reduce the surfboard carbon footprint, but also it helps keep Styrofoam out of the ocean where it is frequently ingested by marine animals that mistake the tiny foam particles for food.

Under the Sustainable Surf Waste to Waves campaign, people can also bring waste polystyrene foam to surf shops in California that have collection bins. Waste to Waves partner organizations include Sustainable Surf, SPY, Reef, Marko Foam, the Surfrider Foundation, and Waste Management. For more information and drop-off locations, visit wastetowaves.org.