OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
The wooden look isn’t only aesthetic but also shows a snowboard’s material in regard to its sustainability and environmental impact.
Our method focuses on producing fewer but higher quality products, thus differentiating ourselves from the logic of massive industrial production, where quantity is fundamental.
The careful design of a simple and minimal construction allows the optimization of materials, components and processes. This reduces excess materials and wastes, including energy. There is less space for errors in both the supply chain and production, ultimately meaning our snowboards will be easier to repair if necessary.
At Sandy Shapes, we don’t only design the snowboard models, but also their life cycle. We constantly strive to develop and implement new solutions to increase our products’ durability. All our snowboard models have different reinforcements depending on the type of board, such as the inserts in ash and beech wood in the cores, bamboo sidewalls, aluminum protections on the nose and tail, and the surface treatment for our wooden topsheets.
No less important is the decision of not having several collections year after year. This allows us to avoid product seasonality and related problems, like producing boards in excess, with the risk of them never being used.
Thanks to the natural beauty and diversity of wood, we thus move away from consumerist logics, which implement only aesthetic changes from year to year.
Quality is the determining factor in choosing our suppliers.
We have few suppliers which we carefully chose over the years, with whom we have selected, and sometimes even developed, the best materials and components for our snowboards. All of them are based in Italy and Europe, in order to have greater ease of dialogue and transport, and a lower environmental impact.
We try to work with local companies more and more, thus forming new skills and creating a micro supply chain. We are based in an area characterized by an important tradition and culture of woodworking, which facilitates communication and interaction between the various companies in the sector.
One thing is clear in our material choice, we do not hide our preference for natural ones. It is not a matter of principle or aesthetics, as our choices always are responsible and high-quality products, which do not compromise, but rather increase the performance and durability of our products.
Our goal is clear: to continue experimenting, to arrive at an ever more extensive (and hopefully complete) use of organic or recycled products, which are part of a circular economy.
We can state that the wooden core of our boards truly represents their soul. It is a fundamental component, if not the most important one, and for this reason we attribute greater value and attention to its quality, if compared to the industry standard.
All of our woodcores have been designed in-house, both in the composition and in the final shape, and from 2020 they are entirely produced by us.
We carefully choose the wood types according to their properties: we use Poplar and Paulownia for their lightness and elasticity, combined with Ash strips for its resistance and uniformity, and Beech in correspondence with the binding inserts for its hardness and robustness. We choose to use wood from certified forests, preferably cultivated and processed locally, such as our local paulownia.
Paulownia is a plant of oriental origins, but introduced to Europe in the early 1800s; it happens to be particularly well suited to the climate and soil of Friuli Venezia Giulia, our home region. Thanks to its excellent properties, its very fast growth and the little amount of care and water it requires, it is increasingly appreciated in the wood and winter sports industries, where it has long been used for its incredible lightness and elasticity. With its large leaves, the Paulownia tree absorbs up to ten times more CO2 than other trees, so much so, that its cultivation is already used in several countries as carbon credits to offset emissions.
Since it is still sometimes considered a non-native and harmful plant, we would like to clarify that the species used for cultivation in our region is a non-weed hybrid.
We have always used certified bamboo wood for our snowboards’ sidewalls and spacers. Its hardness, water resistance and durability make it the perfect material to replace the ABS commonly used in the snowboard industry, compared to which it is also lighter. We use single-layer list panels, treated against water and mould, from which we obtain the different components with CNC machining, optimizing the shapes on the panel in order to produce as little waste as possible. Thanks to its rapid growth and limited needs, Bamboo is one of the most renewable and sustainable woods around and it does not create deforestation, but despite this, we are already working to replace it with recycled Bamboo. This way, we would be able to use production waste from other processes and industries, partially compensating for the already massive use of this material.
Wood Evolution™ is the patented technology that allows us to use real wood for our topsheets, instead of the industry’s standard plastic materials. In its application, we use certified natural and dyed woods, supplied by an Italian company at the forefront of the sector, giving life to many different finishes.
The wood is then treated with a coating based on natural oils and waxes, which the Sandy Shapes rider can replicate independently over the years with our Beauty Care Treatment , to reinvigorate the wood and keep it functional.
Finally, through laser technology, we are able to engrave our logo on the topsheet surface, or even create customizations for customers who want an even more unique and special product; this way, we do not use paints, inks and prints of any kind.
Fibers and resins are perhaps the most difficult materials to replace with sustainable alternatives in Snowboards, this due to the mechanical properties required for their use and the environment in which snowboards are used.
We currently use triaxial fiberglass in different weights, depending on the model, but we are experimenting alternative solutions with excellent results, using natural linen fiber instead of the standard glass and carbon fiber, and replacing epoxy glue with different bio-resins that can reach up to 70% of it’s natural origin.
The goal we have set ourselves is to implement them on the entire collection by 2025.
Just as the materials used for the construction of our snowboards, we want to include a final aspect, often not considered, which involves all kinds of promotional materials and packaging. Also in this case, we seek quality instead of quantity, producing ‘as much as needed’ in order to avoid large numbers of materials that risk to remain unused, and always experimenting with new solutions.
We totally eliminated plastic materials from our shipping packages, made only of recycled cardboard without prints, kraft paper tape, and natural adhesive rubber. All of our snowboards are delivered with a reusable packaging inspired by ‘surf socks’, made of recycled TNT, and wrapped in an illustrative specs card made from recycled paper.
Our production is a completely independent process, with “modern craftsmanship” that involves thoughtful use of technology and leaves ample room for manual work.
This method, combined with limited production runs, allows us to have autonomous, flexible and fast management, which certainly helps in our effort to minimize the environmental impact of our business.
We use a slow gluing process, which does not require automation or use of water and oils. Our presses are heated slowly and allowed to cool naturally, thus consuming less energy and respecting the materials inside of them.
Throughout the production, great attention is paid to the minimization of wastes, this through a precise estimation of raw materials and consumables needed.
Finally, careful sorting of waste allows us to experiment and give life to new projects, which involve the reuse of certain materials or even the creation of new materials starting from scrap.
Together with local and international research centres and consortia, we are also working on the chance of reusing all the construction components, decomposing wastes as well as the irreparable products.