High-quality tools are built out of durable materials, which are by necessity more expensive than cheap crap. It takes a significant amount of resources to produce good tools, and I'm all for them if they're going to last a long time.
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However, something nags at me about this set of Pufferfish Sand Castle Tools:
As you can see, they're billed as strong, sturdy and high-quality sand castle building tools that are meant to be far superior to the flimsy crap that's on the market. And they tout the fact that they're made from upcycled fishing nets and recycled plastic, two things that typically left to rot in the ocean, so the materials choice is as sustainable as it is poetic.
However, what troubles me is that they do not list how much of each tool is made from the upcycled/recycled material. And the shovel handle is made of "high grade aluminum," no recycling credentials mentioned there. (Aluminum products, as most of us know, are better for the planet if made from recycled and rather resource-intensive if made from virgin stock.)
The lack of transparency on the plastic is my sticking point. If these tools are 90% virgin plastic and 10% recycled, I'd say they're not worth it. Sandcastle building tools are by definition disposable; your children will only be children for so long, and I'd say you'd be lucky to get ten seasons building castles at a beach with them before they move on to teenaged pursuits. And if the tool is going to be shelved or discarded in ten years' time, I'd rather the developers designed disposability into the tool by using a natural, biodegradable and/or less resource-intensive material, bamboo for instance.
What are your thoughts? Should long-lived, high-quality tools be the end goal for all tools, or should the materials choices factor into the context of the tool?
My criticisms of these tools aside, Pufferfish is doing well on Kickstarter and has been successfully funded. If you'd like to support them, the all-in full kit starts for $67 and at press time there was still 25 days left to pledge.
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Recycled material or not, plastic (single use or other) near the shore will find its' way into the ocean. Big problem!
There is seldom a need for another crappy piece of plastic to be used little and go into a landfill.
To clarify: recycled polymer content is 100%
Recycled content in the scoop is 100%: https://www.dsm.com/markets/engineering-materials/en/blog/building-sand-castles-with-akulon-repurposed.html
Can you imagine the experience when your Dad (most likely a Dad) spend $67 on sand tools and you're not using them right? Like the kid is hitting rocks or splashing water. or sword fighting. "You're gonna break my fancy sand tool set!" I agree you only use them for so long and I would add sand tools has to be one of the most common beach items that get left behind, forgotten by the child. Some well off people and pro-sand castle builders wannabes will get them.
How about a beach toy bin at beaches to encourage reuse. Less stuff to take with you on a trip, no sandy toys on your leather seats. Less garbage. But hey, first-world problems. I've made sand castles with old flipflops and found water bottles. Up next is a laser level and 3d scanner to ensure your castles are plumb and to save the .stl file so you can 3d print your castles later? oh oh oh an app idea!
I agree, its 'easy' to over-engineer products and to put a green label on it.