Recycle a Kayak, Get a Dog Leash

Kayak maker recycles its boats into household items


By Eugene Buchanan

Your dog could be wagging its tail thanks to a leftover boat that’s no longer on the water. That’s the premise being taken by kayak maker Folbot of Charleston, S.C., which recently launched a buy-back program that, through third party Rebot, recycles its boats into everything from dog collars, key chains and tote bags to luggage tags, wallets and more.

“I’m a big fan of the tote bags myself,” says Folbot President Eric Thome. “As a busy dad I like having a carryall that’s masculine and functional.”

Under the program, Folbot owners can return their old boat to the factory to recycle and purchase a new kayak at a 30 percent discount. “It helps us reward our loyal followers while also making sure older Folbot models are put to the best possible use,” adds Thome.

Once received, older kayak models—whose hulls are made from durable Elvaloy material from DuPont, with a urethane-coated polyester deck—will be recycled and repurposed into new products through Folbot’s sister company, Rebot, spearheaded by former Folbot employee Kyle Clements. “It lets them reduce waste by using production scraps and used kayaks to create fun, colorful and useful products,” says Clements, who’s partial to the recycled wallets. “I always get questions on how unique my wallet is—I tell people it used to be kayak.”

Rebot’s product line is priced at $10 to $42, all handcrafted using production scraps and materials from old Folbot kayaks, including bungee cords, deck and hull material. It’s estimated to reduce Folbot’s production waste by about 70 percent while also recycling older boats. “The last thing we want is for these handcrafted, made-in-America kayaks to meet their end in a landfill,” says Thome.

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