Every year Earth Day inspires citizens to make that extra effort to recycle, clean up their neighborhoods or make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon footprint. Environmental efforts take all different forms but the City of Malibu has been specifically targeting expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam and packing foam this year.
Earth Day falls on the 22nd of April every year and until the weekend before it, the city will be collecting polystyrene foam and wetsuits to be recycled and made into surfboards and other surfing accessories.
Malibu’s senior environmental programs coordinator, Jennifer Brown, said that people will be able to drop off their number 6 foam products in an unattended bin seven days a week. The collected foam will then be donated to the non-profit Sustainable Surf, based out of San Francisco, which will transform the foam into surfboard blanks in what it is calling its “Waste to Waves” program.
A number of cities in California have banned polystyrene foam due to the litter created by its users. Most of its users don’t realize that it can be recycled into a number of different products; surfboards are just one example. The City of Malibu decided to partner with Sustainable Surf first for Earth Day 2012. It thought it would be a good fit for the city to reduce the litter entering the ocean and to repurpose those materials into equipment that would promote the positive use of the ocean. This is the first year they are focusing on polystyrene foam.
The collection of wetsuits is a new one this year and the hope is that the neoprene from old, torn or unused wetsuits can be upcycled into body surfing handplanes by Sustainable Ventura. The City is unsure at present what the response to this will be, but if successful, it will hope to add this to its collection each year.
The hope is that this collection project will continue to grow each year and will encourage Malibu residents to become more conscious of their actions, and make more eco-friendly decisions on a daily basis, a crucial objective of Earth Day organizers.