Billabong announce that from this Spring, all boardshorts will be made from recycled plastics; sea life reported to be jubilant.
By this point, any surf company coming out with a new ocean-saving initiative is usually met with cynicism first as I see the marketing angle fitting in with whatever sustainable trend is currently floating around. When someone like Billabong come along with yet another 'recycled boardshort' line, it doesn't even pique my environmentally-conscious mind. Then I see the words "...all new Billabong boardshorts will be made from Recycled P.E.T.", that is where interest is generated.
The cynic inside me still thinks that it's a good decade too late for such bold initiatives, especially considering these very companies have made serious bucks on the back of cheap plastic, not to mention their entire existence is tied to the ocean. To give Billabong credit, they first ventured into the recycled plastics for boardies business over a decade ago, back in 2007, before it was cool.
Since then, every other surf company has hopped on the cyclical bandwagoning of seeming to care for the environment as more of a PR stunt than actual caring, a nice tax-deductible venture then its back to the usual. Billabong have finally changed that way of thinking and acted on more than just profit margin. They have realised that in this day and age, sustainability is a profit and can only improve their business and their image.
The Billabong Recycler takes bottles and other single use plastics, transforms them into pellets before spinning them into yarn. This is then woven into fabric before a nice, fresh boardshort is popped out the other end.
Billabong's new venture however, is an actual shift in manufacturing to move more in line with a new sustainable approach to their business. No matter the level of a PR stunt, this is a good thing which will only push the other surf companies to follow suit, because if these guys can't even be bothered to help, what chance do any of us have?
Check out the new Billabong Recycler series here.