In may 1989 I (Bas) was born, missing a right foot and calf. I’ve never really missed them though. I don’t know better, I never had a right foot, you know. How can you miss something you never had? And actually, I’ve always had two feet since I was young. When I was not even two years old I wanted to walk and got a prosthetic leg. When I was about ten I was skating, when I was fifteen I started (freestyle!) snowboarding and when I was eighteen I started surfing and never stopped.
In 2015 I was in the Dutch adaptive snowboard team going for the 2018's Paralympics in Pyeongchang but I decided to quit because I wanted to put all that time and energy in protecting our sick planet. In 2016 I was searching for an eco-friendly surfboard that I could promote during the World’s adaptive surf Championships when I stumbled upon Precious Plastic. Precious Plastic is a - open source - plastic recycling platform that shows how to turn plastic waste into usable products. I thought it would be sick to make surf fins from sickening litter plastic from the beach. So I started to build a plastic shredder from mostly scrapyard material (I didn’t have any money and wanted to show that you can come a long way without buying new stuff). It was a pretty tough job to say the least, especially for somebody with little technical skills (my skill level rose up bigtime;) and dealing with scrapyard material. But I had the time and after half a year and with some help from friends the job was done. I bought a little oven and some baking trays in a thrift shop and half a year later, in exactly the same week of the 2018's Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, I gave my first teambuilding clinic in plastic recycling/ reducing/ reusing to a team of the municipality of The Hague. This was in my former workspace in a surfboard shape bay at the dunes that I could rent for a good price thanks to surfboard shaper Julian Yoshi.
From snowboarding- and surfing competition to SICK PLASTIC
Sick Plastic is now centered in the centre of The Hague where we give sick workshops in plastic-recycling/ reducing/ reusing and where we make the products that we sell in shops to spread awareness about the plastic pollution and solutions to consumers. From 2021 (if Covid-19 will be tempered) we will be available again for workshops at schools, events and to your doorstep.
Making surf fins from recycled plastic wasn't the best idea because they can break if you don't add stuff like fiberglass to it. But more important: the process of making them was long and not very suited for clinics because there would be no time left to hunt for the killing plastic at the beach and to do the exciting sick plastic quiz to make the participants aware about the plastic pollution and the solutions. Now we make bookmarks, lampshades, etc in a pretty fast way using a heat-press. So during the clinics there is always time for the quiz and hunting for killing litter plastic.
And what happened with the recycled surf fins idea?
Become part of the change. Let's reduce - reuse - recycle! :)