Recycled surfboard waste helps clean up toxic spills

Surfboard "waste" is now used to help clean up toxic chemical spills

Almost every industry generates some kind of waste, the majority of which often ends up in landfills. The surfboard industry is no exception.

The powdery dust created by shaping a surfboard from a slab of polyurethane foam has now been transformed into a new, super useful product called  SPILLINEX™, which can quickly absorb harmful chemical waste.

Discovered by accident in 2010 by Steve Cox, a surfer, inventor and founder of Green Foam Blanks, it bonds immediately when tossed onto a chemical spill, creating powder balls and leaving what’s underneath clean.

Recycled surfboard shaper dust becomes Spillnex

The polyurethane dust consists of a honeycomb of cells that resemble microscopic golf balls. Because the cells attract liquid chemicals but don’t let them penetrate, when used for instance to mop up an oil spill in the ocean, Spillnex doesn’t sink like regular absorbents.

Spillnex is a compound that can absorb a variety of common spill materials, including:

  • new and used oil
  • paint
  • diesel
  • gasoline
  • anti-freeze
  • hydraulic and brake fluids
  • cooking oils
  • foods like syrup, eggs, honey and more.

Approximately a pound of Spillnex is needed to absorb a gallon of oil. Because it easily bonds to oil, leaving water clean and clear, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) judged Spillnex to be an environmentally safe sorbent for use during the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill.

Cox co-founded Monarch Green with partners Tom and TJ Rossi  in 2010. To date, the company and its seven employees have processed around 200,000 pounds of surfboard shaper dust, selling it for $1.99 a pound for those who buy 15-pound bags or more. Based in Newport Beach, California, their customers include car washes, automotive shops and John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Once again, the case can be made that today’s waste product can have a second useful life with some creative thinking, no toxic chemicals and a little ingenuity.

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