Make Things Better
“The future is working together. Businesses all over the world can work with guys like us to make their waste go away.” – Ed Lewis
Ed Lewis flings open his shaping bay door and nearly sideswipes the back of my head as I was standing a bit too close. He walks across the Enjoy Handplanes workshop and I watch as foam dust rolls up and over his shoulder like upslope fog over a foothill. The co-founder of Enjoy pulls the respirator off his beard and pulls one leg out of his white protective suit. I notice a light in his eye dancing with intuitive focus so I keep my respectful distance. He picks up a cherry red paint pen and his right hand begins to flow, as a channel of heart energy, sliding across the fiberglass of a broken surfboard relaxed against the wall. In this spare-present moment, Ed records his dream:
“I want to work with scalable organic cores out of short term renewable materials that can be composted at end of life. I want to make it durable enough to last for years and to disappear if you no longer want it anymore.”
Every particle of his being is craving a transition from foam production indoors, to a future relationship with organic materials, massaging the earth outdoors. Ed understands that this dream is in reach with a little help from his friends.
Two years ago at Boardroom, Ed met the crew from Ecovative, a New York based company growing materials out of agricultural waste and redesigning the packaging industry. Since the chance meeting Enjoy and Ecovative have been working together to build the core of a handplane out of hemp, corn and mushroom as a substitute for foam. The 100% compostable core solves one problem but another one comes to surface. When a handplane reaches it’s retirement from a lifetime of barrels we wouldn’t be able to chuck it in the garden to compost using Entropy Resin’s bio-based, yet non-dissolvable, Super Sap resin shell.
Entropy’s Rey Banatao and his team have been conducting hours upon hours of research and development to find end of life solutions for products by designing things better from the start. This year, Rey launched Connora Technologies to solve these obstacles. They have created the planet’s first recyclable thermoset resin system for fiber-reinforced composites. The invention of Recyclamine enables the fabrication of 100% recyclable epoxy plastic composites. When soaked in vinegar, a chemical zipper unlocks and the carbon fiber or fiberglass can be reclaimed. Entropy, Connora and Enjoy hold the same motivation and desire to keep trash out of the landfill and to extract value from waste streams.
On February 7th 2015, Enjoy’s Kipp Denslow emptied a full cup of the new dissolvable resin onto three mushroom board handplanes. Ed, Kipp and Rey were more than curious to find out how the new resin would feel in the water and the new handplanes have endured some of the toughest product testing available in the hands of Sean Starky – a wedge crew nutcase, pure waterman and creator of Sea Craft Supply Co. Ed’s enthusiasm made it clear that Starky would be the man for the job,
“It’s fun to collaborate with guys like him because he’s tried everything and can tell you what works and what doesn’t. Besides that, he is a mad man in the water.”
Sean picked up the new handplane the following day and headed straight to LAX for a flight to Oahu’s North Shore. The handplane survived ten days on the island before making it home in time for some Wedge swell. Starky visited the Enjoy shop to chat with Ed after the trip. I sat quietly in between two and a conversation full of feedback and product design continued. Sean’s enthusiasm and ear-to-ear smile said it all.
In mid-April the first Ecovative mushroom Enjoy Handplanes with dissolvable resin were placed in three Patagonia stores in California. I hopped in the car for the hand-delivery drive up the coast that day. In Santa Monica, Ed Lewis, unpacked the box of handplanes and placed them on the table further solidifying his role as pioneer in planting better materials in products. He sat by himself for a moment and it was as if we were back at the Enjoy workshop when he walked across the room to write down his dream. Once again, I kept my distance and watched as he thoughtfully ran his hand over a symbol of not only hard work and collaboration, but of a future of making things better.
Written by John Brodie of Entropy Resins