Everyone knows pollution is a major problem, both in the air and the water. Scientists such as Dean Kamen, who brought his water purification system on the Colbert Report, have been working on solutions, but some of the more innovative approaches come from non-scientists, such as the three entrepreneurs who take trash collected in Chilean waters and turn it into skateboards.
The three founders of Bureo are skateboarding and surfing aficionados who were concerned about the pollution of the world’s oceans. The seeds of the company took root when they learned that about 10% of the plastic pollution in the oceans is discarded fishing gear, largely made of plastic. At some point, they had an “aha” moment and realized that the surfboards and skateboards they were using could be made out of that plastic.
One of the founding members was living in Chile at the time, and that seemed like a good place to start. Enabled with a Northeastern University IDEA funding grant and additional money from Start-Up Chile, they founded Net Positiva, a fishnet collection and recycling program. The project enables Chilean fishermen to dispose of their gear at specific points, where Bureo then collects it and turns it into something totally rad.
Their first prototype is the “Minnow” skateboard, which is made of 30 square feet of fishnets and which will retail for somewhere between $135-$200, depending on design customization and other features. The wheels are made of recycled material and vegetable oil. As with so many big ideas, once proof of concept was achieved, Bureo headed to Kickstarter to fund the production of the Minnow. The Kickstarter is only a few days old, but has already exceeded its $25,000 goal. With 27 days left, it will likely meet that goal a few times over. Not only is the idea awesome, but the photos of the Minnow boards look pretty impressive too, and I particularly love how they resemble scaled fish.
The Kickstarter will also fund the team’s return to Chile in hopes of expanding their business and implementing more recycling and sustainability programs. Being environmentally friendly really is cooler than ever.