Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Transforming 8,000 cigarette butts into a classy, usable surfboard. You do not think it possible but North Sea enthusiasts Jeroen van der Kolk and Wilrik Wels have managed to do it. Why? "Cigarette butts are a greatly underrated threat to nature and it is time to take action," said Jeroen van der Kolk co-founder of SEAVENTS and STUB - Pocket Ashtray. "With the surfboard we want to make people aware of the problem and inspire them to deal differently with their cigarette waste", says Wilrik Wels, owner of Willy Surfboards.
Every year, 4.5 billion cigarette butts end up on the street and in nature worldwide. The filters are made of plastic and take decades to decompose. Chemicals leak out of the filters and end up in soil and water. Marine animals have been found with filters in their stomachs and filter fibers were found in the Arctic sea ice last year.
SEAVENTS is committed to making events waste-free. With the help of our STUB - Pocket Ashtray we collect cigarette butts at festivals. In addition, we organized a cigarette clean-up in Amsterdam last October with a group of environmental organizations. In 2 hours, 50,000 butts were picked up from the street. A creative final destination for the butts was quickly found. As avid surfers, SEAVENTS called for help with Willy Surfboards and the idea for a cigarette surfboard came to life.
Inspired by other surfers from California, the boys decided to put it to the test themselves. Traditional surfboards consist of a core of EPS (a type of styrofoam, and absolutely not environmentally friendly). As an alternative to this, a honeycomb structure of cardboard was used. The honeycombs are filled with butts (no less than 8,000 pieces), which ensure the buoyancy of the board. The combination of fiberglass and epoxy resin provides a smooth finish so that the board slides well through the water.
How does it surf? See the pictures. Jeroen: "For a board that is 4 times heavier than a conventional surfboard, it is great to surf. It is of course also extra special to use this board in the water and it immediately attracts a lot of attention. It's a nice starting point to start the conversation about cigarette waste ".
A national butt clean-up will take place on the 5th of September! We hereby call on everyone to come and help. The aim of the action is to encourage the government to make the tobacco manufacturers responsible for the cleaning costs of all this plastic litter that ends up in nature through their actions.
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