WE'RE ZERO-WASTE AND VERY DIFFERENT, HERE'S HOW:
Our use of alternative construction materials is what makes Niche unique, and these actually make our boards zero-waste and fully recyclable, have better vibration dampening, added elasticity, and more durable! Traditional snowboard manufacturing is pretty toxic and we want to change that by using eco-friendlier materials. From harmful resins to the use of trees from forests that aren’t replanted, to the supply chains themselves, there are many facets of manufacturing that not only harm the planet, but also the people who put those products together. Through years of research and development, we’ve come up with a unique blend of alternative materials that are not only better for the earth but also improve performance! We’re certainly not perfect and there is always an unavoidable footprint when making any product, but we firmly believe that even small steps lead to big differences, and we continually seek out more eco-friendly construction materials. Please read on to see how every snowboard we make is better for the earth.
MATERIALS WE USE
- Extra edge contact points to give your board more edge control and stability, especially in icy conditions
- Works like the serrated edge of a knife
- Fixes the ‘squirrely’ feel that reverse camber boards can have
98% LOCALLY SOURCED MATERIALS:By using regional ground travel instead of obtaining materials from every corner of the globe to be shipped back out again, less energy is used, less emissions are released, and local businesses are supported.
FLIP FLOP BASES:
Alternate color schemes are used to avoid extra plastic base material waste during production.
We digitally print our topsheets using water-based inks that use up to 90% less solvents than traditional inks, and don’t use any lacquer, giving our boards a beautiful matte finish. This is one of the first things you’ll probably notice when you pick up a Niche snowboard. Most snowboard makers cover their topsheets in a thick, toxic lacquer to add shine. This is not only toxic to the environment; it’s unhealthy for people working in the factory. We use a lacquer-free topsheet material, which makes our boards slightly lighter than other snowboards. It also gives our boards a matte finish with a truly unique aesthetic, and an organic feel. We digitally print directly onto the topsheet, cutting up to 60% of the material and 75% of the energy wasted during alternative printing processes.
SNAPPY SAP™ BIO-RESIN:Traditional resins can be extremely toxic to people and the environment. For our snowboards, we partnered with Entropy Resins to create our one-of-a-kind, Snappy Sap™ Bio-Resin. As opposed to traditional epoxies made primarily of petroleum-based materials, Snappy Sap™ Bio-Resin is composed of bio-renewable materials from the industrial waste streams of the paper pulp and bio-fuels industry.These natural components help the environment by:
- 45% material sourced from sustainable, bio-renewable materials
- Lower environmental impact from processing – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, reduced water and energy consumption, reduced wastes
- Eliminates harmful byproducts
- Increased elasticity – provides more pop and spring to your board
- Super high adhesion properties help keep your board from delaminating!
- Toughness – combined these benefits make your board bomb proof
WATER BASED INKS:
Niche uses non-toxic, solvent-free, uv-based inks for printing graphics on all snowboard production.
RECYLCLAMINE RESIN SYSTEM:
Products using our revolutionary Recyclamine® resin system are able to be fully recycled at the end of their life span and all associated manufacturing waste will be reclaimed and up-cycled into new products!
Niche uses recycled materials in many components of our snowboard design and production. Such components used in our boards include:
- Recycled Base Material
- Recycled Steel Edges
- Recycled ABS Sidewalls
SUSTAINABLE WOOD CORES:
The forests that our wood cores come from are managed carefully to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of current and future generations. Our wood cores also come from a sustainable source, which means they are replaced by new trees!
Here are some other requirements of our forest management:
- No use of hazardous chemicals
- No conversion of forests or any other natural habitat
- Appropriate management and identification of areas that need special protection (ex. cultural or sacred sites, habitats of endangered animals or plants)
- Respect of international workers rights and Human Rights, with particular attention to indigenous peoples
- All applicable laws must be followed, with no tolerance for corrupt or questionable business practices
Stringers are strips of material that change the personality of a board (i.e. giving a board more pop or more stiffness), and are typically made of carbon fiber or another type of wood. Niche has developed a totally new stringer technology using Flax Fibers! Carbon uses lots of energy to process and releases half of its weight in CO2 and other pollutants when manufactured. Flax is an awesome eco-substitute! Flax stringers provide similar characteristics to carbon fiber, only they’re made from flax! They are strong, lightweight, and provide amazing vibration dampening characteristics, giving you a less chattery ride.
BASALT STRINGERS:Niche utilizes basalt stringers instead of carbon fiber for added pop, stability, and crazy vibration dampening properties. Basalt is the product of volcanic activity. The fiberization process is more environmentally safe than that of glass or carbon fiber; the greenhouse gases that might otherwise be released during fiber processing were released eons ago during the magma eruption. Basalt is also 100% inert, which means it has no toxic reaction with air or water, and is noncombustible. And basalt is much easier to recycle than glass.
- Our Magma Fiber shows 15-20% higher tensile strength than regular fiberglass. This means better impact absorption, strength, and elasticity.
- Because basalt has a greater strength to weight ratio, less is needed to produce a snowboard. And less material means a lighter board!
For a few years now, we’ve been working relentlessly on a big goal: make snowboard manufacturing a zero-waste process. Get manufacturing waste out of landfills. Get end-of-life snowboards out of landfills. Turn these things into new products by recycling them. Close the manufacturing loop and introduce a true cradle-to-cradle system that works.
We brought the first 100% fully recyclable snowboard manufacturing to market, allowing all manufacturing waste and the product itself to be recycled and repurposed for reuse at the end of its product life cycle. We have teamed up with Connora to apply their Recyclamine® technology into our existing bio-resins to make a groundbreaking shift in snowboard manufacturing, ensuring that nothing we produce ever ends up in a landfill.
How does it work? The resins within the snowboard can be dissolved and broken apart using a top-secret solution, enabling us to harvest all structural components and materials. These materials can then be recycled, repurposed or upcycled to create other new products like surfboard fins, binding components, or an unlimited array of possibilities!
By using the Recyclamine® system, it is possible to harvest all the raw materials from snowboard manufacturing to be repurposed or recycled.
Recyclamine® curing agents are the only epoxy hardeners available that enable full recyclability of thermosetting epoxy resins. This technology provides chemical resistance and mechanical properties similar to conventional, non-recyclable amine-cured epoxies. Flexibility, toughness, and low temperature properties are equal or superior to conventional epoxies.
Our goal was to create a snowboard that maximized performance while synergistically minimizing all impacts on the environment – a 100% recyclable board using environmentally conscious materials and manufacturing practices. Connora’s Recyclamine® technology was the ideal drop-in resin system to facilitate this snowboard’s manufacture.
Connora is pioneering zero-landfill manufacturing and closed-loop materials for hardgoods in the Action Sports Industry. With market leaders in snow sports and surfing, they are working collaboratively with brands and manufacturers to build recyclable composite products, and re-integrate their manufacturing waste back into valuable products.