Surfers are typically pro-environment, but construction of their surf boards can produce about a pound or more of toxic chemical waste.
Does that tidbit make them hypocrites?
Not necessarily--especially in San Clemente, where Soul Stix Surfboards sends its powdery polyurethane waste to Monarch Green, a Newport Beach company that converts the material into a successful product called Spillinex.
All of that is according to the current issue of Forbes and journalist Todd Woody, who explains that Spillinex can absorb a whopping 638 percent of its weight in motor oil.
"The same physical properties that make polyurethane good for riding waves also make it a heck of a sponge," writes Woody, a veteran reporter who is based in San Francisco and has written for the New York Times. "The dust is made of a honeycomb structure of cells like microscopic golf balls. The cells attract liquid chemicals but don't allow them to penetrate; that's why Spillinex can mop up an oil slick in an ocean but won't sink like other absorbents."
That's good news given that as much as 25 million gallons of oil are spilled annually in the United States alone.
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Among those who've purchased Spillinex: John Wayne Airport officials.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly