In times where plastics destroy our environment it`s good to hear that there do exist also some innovative products. Did you know that there are fins made out of recycled plastic out there?
According to recent calculations more than 5 trillions of plastic parts are floating in our oceans and 8 millions metric tons of plastics are littered every year. If we consider that each plastic bottle takes about 500 years to completely decompose, we grasp the severity of our situation. Of course plastic is a great invention which makes our lifes easier in many aspects. However nowadays most of us know that synthetic materials also bear a danger for our health, environment and especially for our oceans. Toxic substances, like bisphenol A, get through plastic products into our ecological cycle, we find them even at the most remote places on the world and inside of our animals and plants.
The Team behind Five Oceans understood the extent of this problem while they were on a surftrip on Bali. However in contrast to many other surfers and tourists there, they also did something about it. They developed their own sustainable surf fins, made from recycled plastic – ecoFins. Those fins are manufactured out of plastic bottle caps which can be found everywhere on the beaches. The material Polypropylen (PP) lasts hundreds of years before it decomposes and is perfect for upcycling because of its solidness.
Apart from recycled PP the Five Oceans team uses glas fibre to produce those high quality fins. Local manufacturers and material scientists helped to develop this unique product. The ecoFins are around 15% lighter in weight than usual surf fins, respond quickly and make fast turns possible. A solid base and general stability are also guaranteed. The tested fins are after all because of its durability a very sustainable product.
Transparent value added process: from beach waste to selling fins
The ecoFins production line starts with the plastic waste from Bali´s beaches. According to UNEP studies from 2009 Indonesian islands have a worldwide negative record of maritime waste. On one square kilometre 690.000 plastic parts were found on the sea ground – a dangerous amount for our environment. So luckily there are teams like Five Oceans who do beach-clean-ups and bring the plastic waste from Bali to the neighboring island Java to process it. Over there the plastic parts are melted and formed into recycled pellets. Then the material gets shipped to Australia, the home country of Five Oceans, where it is manufactured into the high quality surf fins which finally get sold. According to the team 100 plastic bottle caps – which make up half of the material- can be found in one single ecoFin!
More than just a product
Beside producing sustainable surf fins Five Oceans tries to raise the awareness of our waste problem in our worldwide oceans. Together with partners they work for example on Bali and other Indonesian islands to talk about the importance of recycling, waste management and water hygiene with local communities. In Australia they build sculptures from plastic bottle caps and manage to get media attention with artistic projects and informative studies.
Of course products like the ecoFins are just one option, or one drop in the bucket to confront the pollution of our oceans. Buying one sustainable product does of course not justify thoughtless packaging of products and the addictive plastic consumption of our society. It does not save our oceans from the yearly plastic flood either. However those plastic fins are a small step towards a sustainable future where alternatives to plastic products have to be found and set important examples. If everyone of us contributes at least a bit within his/her possibilities we can fight together this worldwide environmental problem.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” (Anne Marie Bonneau)
And if you got interested into Five Oceans EcoFins, then please have a look on their website
Enjoy reading, inspire yourself and set an example as well!