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Eco friendly Planet Riley

Planet Riley - We think of the Environment! Do you?

What does Planet Riley stand for? What is the difference between Riley Balsawood Surfboards and any other surfboard company? A lot!

As surfers, we enjoy nature on a daily basis more than anybody else. This is why at Riley Balsa we constantly try to reduce our impact on the environment. In producing only balsawood surfboards we have already taken a big step towards more environmentally friendly surfboards. A balsa wood tree grows very fast. After 5-6 years it already reaches a height of up to 10 metres and a diameter of 50-65 cm. The tree will not grow any more after this time (it actually dies) so it is best to harvest it then. At the time of cutting it, the balsa tree holds seeds in a cotton wool ball pod and when it hits the ground the seeds are scattered on the ground. Usually, there will be around 10 seeds which germinate from this (if not more). Balsa wood is therefore highly sustainable and can be recycled.

•During the shaping process, we try not to use harmful materials. In fact, on our solid surfboards, the only waste is balsa and redwood sawdust which is put into compost for the garden. Some small offcuts are given to schools and other charity organizations.
•Our foam core boards have a recyclable polystyrene core (rather than a polyurethane core these are toxic when made) which is safer for the shaper as well as the environment – it can be recycled again and again.EPS is inert and non-toxic and acts as a stabiliser when sent to landfill. EPS aerates the soil, encouraging plant growth on reclaimed sites. EPS will not leach any substances into the groundwater, nor will it form methane gas (a major contributor to the depletion of the ozone layer).

Riley surfboards last at least 5 times longer than a board made out of traditional materials. This means less or no boards in landfills.
•The glues we use contain no volatile or flammable ingredients.
•We recycle the sandpaper after it is used in our machines. It is reused for hand sanding.
• Riley uses polyester resin for all of his boards and fins. We use this product because of the great polished finish that is achieved and the ease of carrying out repairs, strength, durability, and non-yellowing, amongst other factors. Polyester Surfboard resin uses a reactive solvent that is from a recycled source and saves 15% on material [styrene] than a standard resin.  The solvent has excellent wet-out properties for use with glass fibre and furthermore has increased mechanical and UV properties. The manufacturing process also uses several other byproducts. Therefore the use of these by-products is not detrimental to the environment.

• Riley surfboards store carbon! That’s right – approximately 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon, removed from the atmosphere by a growing tree. So approximately half the weight of the balsa in our surfboards is carbon and it’s better locked up in there than out in the atmosphere! Promoting the environmental advantages of wood is one of the aims of Wood. Naturally Better.™ We’ve recently become a Wood. Naturally Better.™ Program Partner because we support the use of sustainably sourced wood. Wood not only stores carbon, but it has low embodied energy too – the energy used to create and manufacture it – so it’s even more environmentally friendly.
You can find out more about Wood. Naturally Better.™ at
•In order to reduce our CO2 footprint we have started growing our own balsa trees near Cooktown, Queensland rather than importing it from Ecuador and Papua New Guinea. Thanks to cyclone Yasi in January 2010 she brought down a few balsa trees and we found these trees – we transported them down to Sydney and we were surprised in the quality. You can now purchase an Aussie grown balsa board.We import large quantities from the container and ship it here rather than importing small quantities via air transport.
• Riley Balsawood Surfboards is a member of the Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior. Please check out their website ( and support their cause.
•Because the balsa substrate is stronger than the regular polyurethane blank – it requires less glass and less resin, therefore, reducing the impact on the environment.
• All of the rags and clothes that are used come from 100% recycled material from Australia, and these are reused many times.
•All of our fins, fin boxes, leash plugs are exclusively Australian made with balsa coloring.
• Our factory and office hot water system are powered by solar energy and we use Cool daylight environmentally friendly fluorescent tubes that only contain 2mg. mercury and last for 20000 hours.

The workshop and office electricity is 100% Green Power - The following types of Renewable Energy generation used are · Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Electric Systems · Wind Turbines and Wind Farms · Hydro-Electric Power Stations · Biomass-Fuelled Power Stations · Geothermal Power Stations · Wave and Tidal Power Stations 

• The vehicles we drive have now been converted to LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) to reduce the amount of fuel/oil we consume.
•For all national and international orders we use recycled custom cut cardboard and two layers of innovative EnviroBubble it is the world’s first 100% totally degradable bubble wrap incorporates EPI’s TDPA (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives). It is made in Australia and the wrap has a controlled shelf life of a minimum of 12 months as the TDPA additives are added at a controlled rate to monitor and control the useable life of the product and allowing the bags to degrade at a specific rate. The board is custom packed into a recycled polystyrene foam block - please do the right thing when receiving an order and either re-use the packaging or recycle it properly.

•All our file keeping is either electronic or printed on re-used paper.
•Instead of printing thousands of brochures – we use the web and internet to distribute our information ( If you would like more info or have a question please email us.)
•We do not send our newsletter via paper and post – but rather electronically.
•We can accept an order via the website or via email (including custom orders) - an electronic invoice and order can be generated – a deposit can be paid via direct deposit or credit card. The order is made and the final invoice is emailed and payment is made. By using this method we reduce our paper trail by removing 6 pieces of paper (quote, order, invoice, statement, cheque, receipt) also saving time and fuel with depositing a cheque into the bank.
• Please also check our "Who we support" page. Since 1996 we have donated to support the surfing world, environmental issues and communities by contributing time, support, gifts, products, and money to make the world a better place. Check out who we support by clicking here.

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