SAY NO TO PLASTICS & OIL SLICKS
Your choices make all the difference.
SPANK INDUSTRIES launches “Oil Slick” Oozy Pedal & Split Stem Limited Edition to raise awareness about the choices consumers can make to help reduce ocean pollution.
Okay, your first thought is most likely, “What does my passion for mountain biking have to do with ocean and river pollution?” But wait! You and your mountain bike are more closely related to the growing crises of polluting of our natural water resources than you think. It takes a few minutes to read this article. Invest the time into learning something positive and becoming part of the solution by empowering yourself with the knowledge to make smart choices.
It’s not a stretch to understand how the surfing community is hyper aware of the devastating impacts of plastic and oil pollution of our oceans. Few things ruin your buzz more than having to paddle out through plastic debris to get to the line-up. The invisible layer of oil coating the reef is also far more apparent to a surfer than the folk enjoying rays on their deck chairs on the beach. We tend to think of oil pollution only in terms of the devasting images of sea birds grounded by thick sludge from tanker spills. However, spills are only what make the shock-and-awe headlines. The sinister truth about ocean and river oil pollution is more directly related to the actions and choices you and I make daily.
An alarming percentage of the oil coating sea sand, reefs, and sea life, originates from the careless disposal of oil and chemicals in domestic and industrial situations – no matter how distant from the coastline. Everything ends up in the ocean finally. And where the oil slicks stick, the living things suffer. You probably don’t need to be reminded that what ends up in the ocean, also ends up finally in your gut as well. That doesn’t only count for oil, chemicals, and heavy metals. The number of micro plastics (finely degraded plastic particles from plastics bags, containers, wrapping, etc.), is quite mind blowing. Together these factors not only suffocate our marine life, but they also make us sick.
Enter your mountain bike and components into the equation. Let’s take a quick look at how manufacturing impacts on the polluting of oceans and water systems.
MATERIAL, PROCESS & WASTE
Sludges containing heavy metals and oils are a common waste products of machining metals. Likewise, paint sludge and chemical wastes result from plastics or composite product manufacture. This is the cost of manufacturing, but every brand and every factory has the power to make choices that can reduce the intensity and volume of harmful waste products generated during production, as well as the methods of disposal.
PACKAGING AND MERCHANDISING
The excessive use of plastic and printed paper in product packaging and merchandising is another factor that contributes greatly to pollution of our oceans and water resources. In 2021, a study showed an estimated 24-billion tons of plastic waste deposited on our global ocean floor. That’s just the reach they could reasonably measure to. Who knows what’s brewing in the depths of the abyss? There’s something about a plastic bag that fools sea turtles into thinking that it’s food. They don’t seem to be able to discern between a plastic wrap and a jellyfish. We should all be very familiar by now with the images of deceased turtles on account of the plastics they have injected, but all manner of marine and fresh-water life suffers daily from suffocation, strangulation, and prolonged and painful decline from ingested plastics. Aside from plastic packaging pollution, the printing industry contributes a whopping volume of paint sludge waste and chemical waste to global water pollution.
Right, so you’re still not sure how you have anything to do with being responsible for changes that need to take place at industrial and manufacturing stages of your product’s lifecycle?
1) Investigate what the brands you support are saying about their responsibility to reducing or mitigating environmental impacts. Then you decide if you are comfortable that your next purchase is part of the problem, or part of the solution. Your planet. Your choice.
2) Lead by example in how you manage oil, chemical and packaging waste reduction and disposal in your own home.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AT HOME?
• Choose your domestic cleaning products, soaps and shampoos carefully
• Sort organic, chemical, and recycling waste for proper disposal
• Think before you flush or pour oils and chemicals down the drain
• Choose less plastic and less packaging in your purchase habits
• The cost of anything is not just the price you pay, remember that
• Message your favorite brands on Facebook and IG and ask them what they are doing about keeping our planet’s water resources clean. See what they have to say. If they don’t have an answer, send them to earthballriders.com and tell them we’ll be happy to talk and share best practice tips and advice
What does SPANK Industries do to be part of the solution?
At SPANK Industries, source reduction and recycling are the cornerstones of our manufacturing program. Here’s some of the ways in which we manage our manufacturing processes to do our part in protecting our oceans, and your gut, from heavy pollution –
PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA, 1988
FROM SURF SHACKS TO BIKE TRACKS
SPANK INDUSTRIES takes a very practical approach to sustainability and environmental affairs. Our passion for mountain biking was actually born in a bicycle workshop in the back yard of a surf shop in South Africa back in the 1980’s. We lived, breathed, ate, and slept surfing back then. Until we went to a watersports trade show in California and spotted a mountain bike for the first time. The rest, as they say, is history, and today we are based in Taiwan, manufacturing SPANK product and shipping it globally to you! But our surf culture roots are where our ‘nurture nature’ mindset first developed, and it continues to influence our contribution to the bicycle industry today.
Front right: Gavin Vos, founder SPANK Industries