Did the Beach Boys have a song about turning fishing nets into surfboards? Well, they should have. Maybe materials maker Royal DSM and watersports firm Starboard can write one of their own.
Those two firms on Sept. 26 announced that they're collecting and upcycling discarded fishing nets to create a material for consumer goods such as surfboard components. The collaboration supports litter-free beaches, a healthier marine environment and creates a positive social impact for local communities in India, officials said in a news release.
DSM, which is based in Sittard, the Netherlands, and Bangkok-based Starboard came together when the surfboard company selected DSM's Akulon RePurposed-brand nylon resin, which is fully recycled from discarded nylon-based fishing nets. The discarded fishing nets are gathered from the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, and are used to make fins and other structural parts in surfboards, officials said.
All the products made using Akulon RePurposed, are branded as NetPositive! by Starboard. In addition to surfboards, the firms makes paddleboards, windsurfboards and kiteboards.
"We look beyond society's current model of take-make-dispose and instead try to mimic nature and the circle of life," DSM's Matt Gray said in the release. "In our collaboration with Starboard we use waste to make a long-lasting, high-value material that can again be recovered at the end of its life cycle to become something new." Gray is commercial director for DSM Engineering Plastics in the Asia Pacific region.
Starboard founder and CEO Svein Rasmussen added that "one of the most satisfying parts of our work is the challenge of redesigning our products to lower their environmental impact and achieve higher performance."
"Through this collaboration with DSM, we showcase how quick and easy it can be to change the way we build better boards for the planet," he added. "We want to continuously push boundaries for more eco-innovations for our boards."
In addition to addressing environmental concerns, officials said that the collection, sorting, cleaning and processing of discarded fishing nets creates sustainable livelihoods for several local communities in India.