It’s hard to think of garbage floating in the ocean as anything but a problem. But for three American guys currently based in Santiago, Chile, sea trash could be a big money maker.
Ben Kneppers of Mattapoisett, along with David Stover and Kevin Ahearn, have started Bureo Skateboards, a company which builds boards out of recycled fish nets. While the initial concept was motivated primarily by environmental concerns — it is estimated that discarded fishing materials make up around 10 percent of all trash in the ocean — the plan could be a boon to Chilean fisherman as well. Currently, fishermen have to pay private landfills to take their old nets, but Kneppers told a Globe reporter that as more orders for skateboards come in, Bureo plans to buy them directly from fishing communities. It takes about 30 square feet of net to create one board.
One skateboard company can only take so much garbage out of the ocean. But finding ways of using sea trash productively — or giving fisherman an incentive to recycle — could have a real impact on reducing pollution in the long run.