We are stoked to announce the launch of the industry’s first and only fluoro wax takeback program! mountainFLOW has been working with Outdoor Industry MBA students at Western Colorado University as well as a team of undergraduate students from Colorado Mesa University’s Outdoor Industry Studies Program as part of The Wright Collegiate Challenge to develop a takeback program for fluorinated ski wax. The program will allow people an option to drop off their fluorinated wax at participating Colorado retail locations or, for those outside of the state, mail it in. In exchange, we are offering swag and discount codes for participants in the program, but the incentive is strictly utilitarian: it’s ultimately to entice people to do their part for the betterment of all and is not intended to be a sales ploy. It is a representation of who we are as a brand. We see a problem and offer a low impact and innovative solution.
The issue of removing harmful fluorocarbons is one of the catalysts that lead to the creation of mountainFLOW and this program is simply an extension of those values. Fluorinated wax contains polyfluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS) and are known as “forever chemicals” in that they do not biodegrade, ever. They are also carcinogenic to the user when applying and toxic for the environment, far superseding any short-term benefits, especially when there are biodegradable products out there that achieve the same level of performance... products like mountainFLOW, for example.
To use, skiers typically apply a basecoat and then a topcoat of fluorinated wax to their skis to form a hydrophobic barrier that results in minimized friction, increasing the skier’s potential velocity threshold. However, the friction from the snow breaks off microscopic particles of the wax which then ultimately ends up in watersheds. Compounding the problem, at least in Colorado, is that many of the West’s prominent rivers have their headwaters in Colorado, meaning these forever particles can travel much farther than where they started at the top of a ski run.
The takeback program is launching this May with opportunities for wax drop off at participating Colorado retailers. In addition to the retail partners, the WCU team will have a table and fluorinated wax deposit box at the Colorado Outdoor Industry Leadership Summit in Crested Butte from May 19-20. The team will also be putting together a mail-in and a donation option to broaden the reach of the pilot program with long-term goals of scaling the initiative much further. The team is following guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment for safe storage and eventual disposal.
More information on the takeback program, including participating collection sites and mail-in instructions can be found HERE.
Presented in partnership with the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, The Wright Collegiate Challenge is a semester-long program helping to prepare Colorado higher-ed students to enter the workforce by providing first-hand experience working alongside small businesses and nonprofit organizations to develop actionable solutions to current-day challenges within the outdoor recreation industry sector. LEARN MORE