Why plastic climbing holds are not sustainable
Both polyester resin and polyurethane are commonly used in the manufacturing of plastic climbing holds, and neither material is simple to recycle.
Polyester resin is a thermosetting plastic that hardens irreversibly when cured. This means that once the material is set, it cannot be melted and reformed like thermoplastic materials. Polyester resin also contains additives, such as fillers and dyes, which can make it difficult to recycle. To recycle polyester resin, the material must be ground into small particles and then used as a filler material for new products, such as concrete or asphalt.
Polyurethane is a thermoplastic material that can be melted and reformed, but the process is complicated and requires a specialized recycling facility. Polyurethane also contains additives, such as flame retardants and plasticizers, which can make it difficult to recycle. Additionally, the recycling process for polyurethane can produce hazardous byproducts, making it a more complex material to recycle safely.
In both cases, the complexity of the recycling process and the additives used in the materials make it challenging to recycle plastic climbing holds made from either polyester resin or polyurethane. While some manufacturers offer take-back programs or recycling options for their used climbing holds, it is not always feasible or practical to recycle these materials. As a result, responsible disposal and repurposing may be the best options for used plastic climbing holds.
Granite climbing holds
Granite climbing holds that are sourced from quarries can be a sustainable solution compared to plastic holds for several reasons.
Firstly, granite is a natural material that does not contain any harmful chemicals or additives, which means that it is inherently more environmentally friendly than plastics. Additionally, granite is a durable material that can withstand heavy use and weathering, meaning that it is less likely to need to be replaced than plastic holds.
Secondly, the sourcing of granite from quarries can be a sustainable process if it is done responsibly. For example, if the granite is sourced from a quarry that has been reclaimed and rehabilitated after extraction, then the process can have a minimal impact on the environment. Additionally, if the quarry is located near a construction site or other infrastructure project, then the use of the granite for climbing holds can provide a useful outlet for what might otherwise be considered waste material.
Lastly, sourcing granite from quarries can also support the local economy and communities in the area. For example, if the granite is sourced from a local quarry, then it can create jobs and stimulate economic activity in the surrounding region. Additionally, using locally sourced materials can reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and logistics.
It is worth noting, however, that the sustainability of granite climbing holds depends on the responsible sourcing and extraction of the material, as well as the responsible disposal or repurposing of the holds once they are no longer usable. Additionally, using granite holds may not be a practical or feasible option for all climbing gyms or outdoor climbing areas, depending on factors such as location and availability of materials. Nonetheless, using granite climbing holds that are responsibly sourced from quarries can be a sustainable solution compared to plastic holds, and can provide a more eco-friendly and durable option for climbers.