Jaguar Land Rover made a surfboard out of recycled plastic

Lucy Campbell and Jaguar Land Rover surfboard
You probably know Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) for its sedans and SUVs, but would you ride a surfboard made by this venerable British car firm?

JLR made a surfboard completely from recycled plastic to demonstrate its commitment to reducing waste. An estimated 8.8 million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean every year, the automaker claims, and that waste can take hundreds of years to decompose. The surfboard is a creative potential use for recycled plastic from JLR’s own design studios.

The board was created in concert with SkunkWorks Surf Co. and tested by Lucy Campbell, an English Women’s Open Surfing Champion surfer. It features carbon fiber rails beginning at the nose, and a carbon fiber strip at the tail, for added strength. Campbell tested it in the waters of Whiterocks Beach, Northern Ireland. The board was unveiled to the public at JLR’s Tech Fest in London earlier this month.

The main body of the surfboard was made from polyurethane, which is used in the construction of mockups at JLR’s design studios. In the car-design process, full-scale models are made from clay so that designers and executives can evaluate styling features. The clay is heaped onto polyurethane frames and then sculpted by hand into the shape of a car.

When the model is no longer needed, the clay is recycled for later reuse by the studio, but the plastic frame is usually discarded. JLR used some of that material for its prototype surfboard, showing one possible use for the refuse of the automotive design process.

Don’t expect JLR to get into the surfboard business full time, but the project highlights an important issue for automakers. Like other large corporations, automakers produces a lot of waste, which needs to be factored into their overall environment impact.

Waste and emissions from the production process will likely get more attention as automakers adopt electrified powertrains. With tailpipe emissions reduced or eliminated, pollution from the production process will make up a bigger portion of a car’s overall carbon footprint. So as cars get greener, the process of making them needs to get greener, too.

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