Non-smoker Taylor Lane managed to collect 10,000 cigarette butts from beaches that were then used to cover a recycled surfboard and win an environmental awareness contest.
The creation beat boards made from potato sacks, used packaging and an old bathroom door.
Californian surfer, Taylor Lane, has won a recycled surfboard contest with an entry covered with 10,000 cigarette butts. Lane’s creation beat boards made from potato sacks, used packaging, an old bathroom door and throwaways picked up from dumpsters. The entries were for the third annual Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest, hosted by the Vissla surfing gear brand and the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation.
The Cigarette Surfboard Documentary
On the Kickstarter page, The Cigarette Surfboard Documentary, Taylor Lane’s friend Ben Judkins poses this question:
You wouldn’t throw a candy wrapper on the ground, out of a car window, or into the ocean, so why are cigarette butts tossed with such indifference?
Judkins continues — Just one year ago, I was not aware that cigarette filters were made from plastic; it takes these butts just as long to biodegrade as any other plastic — NEVER! Three quarters of smokers report habitually flicking their cigarettes. Is flicking still really deemed as “cool”?
Besides the visual atrocity of littered cigarette butts –
- 80% of discarded filters make their way into our water systems — streams, rivers, and gutters that lead directly to the ocean.
- There are 5.6 TRILLION cigarette butts littered each year around the world, which makes them the most littered item on Earth.
- These toxic cancer sticks carry more than 7,000 chemicals, such as lead, arsenic, nicotine, and formaldehyde, which leach into the environment, effectively and collectively contaminating water, poisoning fish, and killing other animals.
- Just ONE cigarette butt can have adverse effects on marine life: “SDSU public health researcher Richard Gersberg… found that the chemicals from just one filtered cigarette butt had the ability to kill fish living in a one-liter bucket of water… about half of the fish were killed with a very low concentration of cigarette butts”.
How the the idea came a-butt
The surf company Vissla and the non-profit environmental organisation Surfrider Foundation hold a contest each year that prompts individuals to create a functional surfcraft built from upcycled materials.
Upcycled materials are discarded objects that are creatively transformed and repurposed into something new; essentially, from trash to treasure.
In 2016, Taylor’s buddy Ben Judkins filmed Lane’s entry into the “Creators and Innovators Upcycle Contest”. They were selected as finalists in the contest, and although they did not receive an award in 2016, they left the event markedly inspired, already brainstorming ideas for the 2017 contest.
They asked themselves, ‘What type of upcycled trash could make for the most poignant and powerful creation? What kind of waste could they incorporate that would make an unparalleled statement about littering, inextricably connected to coastal health, while capturing the hearts and minds of surfers, environmentalists, and everyday citizens?’
The answer: Cigarette Butts!
The most littered item in the world, and the most collected trash item from beach cleanups internationally. Ben proposed to Taylor that for the 2017 contest, they should create a surfboard made from used cigarette filters, all of which were sourced from the beach.
Taylor and Ben plan an environmental surf documentary
The aftermath of the contest victory is becoming the real story. News of the surfboard has gone completely viral, captivating the imaginations of people around the world and bringing attention to the global problem of tobacco waste in coastal areas, as well as the grander issue of ocean pollution.
Taylor and Ben plan to create an environmental surf documentary showcasing their journey with "The Roach Tail" — focusing on the harmful effects of human-caused ocean pollution and what can be done to raise awareness and change behaviours, while linking the historical significance that surfing and surfers have with respect for the ocean.
They will be working with scientists, activists, public health employees, government agencies and nonprofits to make for a captivating and culturally relevant film.
Along the way, they will also connect with internationally acclaimed surfers, with three different Cigarette Surfboard models, taking the boards to various coastal regions around the world and communicating with local populations about the effects of ocean pollution, and discussing the different ways of dealing with it.
Check out the link below to find out how you can help Taylor and Ben with their forthcoming documentary.
The Cigarette Surfboard Documentary needs your help
To raise awareness about ocean pollution & stimulate more action, Taylor Lane crafted a surfboard made from 10,000 used cigarette butts. Follow the journey and contibute towards the upcoming documentary based on the story.