Our industry is making strides towards sustainability and protecting our oceans at all levels. It’s not always that obvious so we’re going to feature and make films about as many companies doing this as possible. Starting point is here with the guys over in Sweden and their accessories company which is doing everything possible to make a more responsible leash, amongst other things. Check out the interview here with one of the founders Jan Persson and find out more HERE
Where did it all begin? Did you want to start a surf co. first, or was the formation of Revolwe down to the desire to create something more sustainable?
It all started from the desire to create something more sustainable and eco-friendly for surfers but at the same time my drive to start my own business was a big part of it as well.
My background as a purchaser and the passion for surf all melted down to the birth of Revolwe, which stands for Recycle, Evolution, We. That’s because we, all together, can do something for the environment and create the future.
Can you explain to us the breakdown of each leash, and where the components come from and how they are better than in a standard leash for the environment?
Sure, for the logos, webbing, rail saver and leash string we use fabric made from 100% recycled post-consumer PET bottles. We use approximately 3 PET bottles per leash and the use of recycled post-consumer PET bottles reduces raw material usage and reduces energy consumption by ≈3000 BTUs which is equivalent to the energy in 1/10 of a litre of gasoline.
For the cuff (the soft part around your leg) we don’t use neoprene.
That is because neoprene is either derived from petroleum or derived from limestone.
The environmental impact of something derived from petroleum is more familiar but the environmental impacts of something derived from limestone, might be less familiar.
Like oil, limestone is a limited, non-renewable resource that is extracted from the earth. Limestone rock is mined from mountains, and requires diesel-powered equipment such as cranes, backhoes, and dump trucks the size of houses. The crushed limestone is fed into a furnace and heated to extremely high temperatures (over 3600º F / 2000º C) in an energy-intensive process.
What we use instead of the conventional neoprene is Yulex® natural rubber.
The Yulex® natural rubber in our products comes from sources that are Forest Stewardship Council® certified by the Rainforest Alliance.
Only 0,5% of the world’s natural rubber supply currently comes from FSC certified sources.
The Forest Stewardship Council is the gold standard of forest management because it protects water quality, prevents loss of natural forest cover, prohibits highly hazardous chemicals, protects customary rights of indigenous people and local communities, limits clearcuts to protect forest ecology, protects high conservation value forests, and governs in a democratic and transparent way.
By replacing conventional neoprene with Yulex® we are able to reduce CO2 emissions by ≈80% compared to conventional neoprene products.
Last but not least the cord, which is the most important thing in the leash strengthwise.
Our cord is made from high strength Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) which has up to 30% recycled content.
You may ask, ”Why not 100% recycled content in the cord?”
It is not possible to use 100% recycled content, that is because when you get over a certain percent of recycled content for an elastomer like TPU the molecules starts to get shorter which then makes the TPU less elastic and gets a lower breakage point.
Unfortunately it is not possible to make the cord from recycled PET-bottles. That is because PET is a total different plastic compound and isn’t elastic compared to TPU.
The big question we always get asked, whether it is talking about a Yulex wetsuit, or a recycled leash, is do they work as well/are they as strong as the regular product we are used to?
Sure, they work as well as conventional products, Revolwe leashes have been thoroughly tested by some of the world’s best surfers in various conditions including 6-8ft heavy reef breaks in Micronesia.
Are you looking at anything beyond leashes, or is it a case of solving one problem at a time?
We are constantly looking into developing products for surfers that are more sustainable and eco-friendly without compromising performance.
Right now we have some other products in the development process that hopefully will enter the market later this year when testing has been done.