PORTLAND, Ore — For 15 years, a Portland woman has been transforming broken skateboards into keepsakes. She recycles pieces that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Skateboarding is more than a hobby for Lindsay Holmes, it’s carried her to a full-time job.
"You can look at a parking curb or an empty pool and know that these things can be so cool because you can go skate that," said Holmes "I think skateboarding helps you look at the world differently."
Where others see an old skateboard, Holmes sees an opportunity to create something new. That's how she started to cut skateboards open.
"As I started to do that, the colors inside of the skateboard started to show and just I got, really, really excited and remember thinking 'oh my gosh, there’s something magical happening here,'" said Holmes.
She turned that magic into MapleXO, her Northeast Portland business.
“We make recycled skateboard jewelry and accessories," explained Holmes “it was kind of born out of my desire to keep skateboards living forever."
Skate shops and skateboarders around the country donate broken equipment, which Holmes turns into products selling for $30 to $40.
“All of these are old skateboard wheels ... these things will just sit in the landfill forever since they’re made from polyurethane," she explained. "We cut these up and turn them into little planters."
Mackenzie Moss was a MapleXO customer and purchased one of the planters, but the mission at the store kept her around.
"I’ve worked with MapleXO for 6 years," said Moss. "Recycling in any way possible is the most responsible thing we can do right now."
At MapleXO they try to recycle as much of the skateboard as possible — even the tiniest pieces. Small bits of skateboard get extra miles as bottle openers, keychains, planters and jewelry, keeping the Portland company rolling.
"The concept of turning skateboards into new products that can last forever is just something I’d like to help more people to see — turn trash into treasure," said Holmes.
MapleXO has 72 active wholesale accounts worldwide. From coast to coast in the United States as well as overseas in Japan, Germany and Australia. If you're in Portland you can drop off old skateboards at the shop at 2925 NE Glisan and they'll gladly recycle them.