Mr. Zog's Sex Wax is one of the most popular surfboard wax brands around the globe. In addition to being sold for as little as 2 USD a bar, not only do they have a high quality, but the Eco Box option appears to be eco-friendly also.
Though Sex Wax does have a whole page dedicated to product sustainability, are they truly transparent? Not so much. Are they making genuine efforts towards sustainable production? Not at all. Indeed, it appears that Sex Wax is just practising a different way of greenwashing by trying to justify their choice of using a very unsustainable material - paraffin. By focusing on explaining why wax made of soy wouldn’t be more sustainable, Sex Wax essentially tries to hide most parts of its own production process to distract the reader from understanding the harms that paraffin production causes to the environment.
As a petrochemical by-product, paraffin causes many issues for human and ecosystem health in almost all parts of its lifecycle. It is disappointing to see that a product that is extremely popular among surfers and used frequently isn’t produced with the slightest effort to make it more sustainable and ocean-friendly.
All Sex Wax product uses paraffin as the base material, including the Eco Box wax bar. Paraffin is the main ingredient in surf wax, but it is usually mixed with other materials. Similar to many other wax production companies, Sex Wax doesn’t disclose the exact ingredients in their formula in order to prevent people from copying.
Paraffin wax is usually made by refining crude oil, which means that petroleum has to be sourced and processed to produce paraffin. Even though the exact health implications of paraffin is still undetermined, crude oil is known to be a non-renewable resource and it has a high risk of harming the environment through issues such as spillage and damaging natural habitats and ecosystems.
Sex Wax has a dedicated page explaining the environmental impacts of their wax. According to this webpage, their paraffin wax is biodegradable, compostable and non-toxic. However, it can’t be guaranteed that Sex Wax really does not contain other petroleum by-products, as the ingredients in their formula are not published. Toxic petrochemical by-products could harm the health of the surfers, but also the ocean as they eventually get washed off. Since such chemicals can be found in 95 percent of surfing waxes in the global market, there is a high chance that Sex Wax contains them as well. Lastly, even if paraffin wax is biodegradable, it will eventually be releasing the previously sequestered carbon in the petroleum.
The only positive point I found that makes the Eco Box stand out from other Sex Wax products is its 100% recycled fibre packaging. However, this alone isn’t convincing enough to choose it instead of more sustainably produced surf wax such as bee wax.
The factory is located in Carpinteria, California. From what I have seen, all Sex Wax products are manufactured there locally. Despite having a dedicated page on environmental impact, there is little to no information on how the factories operate, and the information on how the wax is made is very superficial.
Paraffin wax is usually produced by separating crude oil into individual chemical components. Besides that, sourcing crude oil has many environmental risks; a high amount of energy is usually required for the extraction and transportation process as well as the refinement process. Furthermore, refining petroleum generates greenhouse gasses and toxins from petrochemicals get released, endangering human health and ecosystems.
But it doesn’t end here. Producing paraffin for the consumer markets incorporates more toxic chemicals. The initial black sludge of crude oil needs to be bleached, which emits dioxins. Exposure to dioxin can, for instance, cause reproductive and developmental damages and cancer. After bleaching, the chemical acrolyn is commonly added to solidify paraffin, which also has the potential to cause cancer.
The company has a statement that reads, “negative impacts associated with (…) paraffin must also be associated with soy wax to some degree,” to justify their choice of paraffin. To me, this only seems to be an excuse to keep harming the environment instead of making any necessary sacrifice. Therefore, I wouldn’t feel confident enough to trust that they are making genuine efforts to produce more sustainably.
At first sight, even though not necessarily the most sustainable, Sex Wax appears to be transparent. A lot of effort seems to have been put into creating a dedicated website for the environmental impact of Sex Wax, supplemented with resources and links to back up their statements. Reading carefully, however, this seems to just be a different way of greenwashing. All the links for the in-text citations don’t even work, and this is also the case for 2 out of 4 links in the resources section.
The entire environmental impact page focuses on discussing how paraffin is comparable to what is considered the ‘greener option,’ soy wax. The material specifics, as well the production process of paraffin, are both only briefly outlined in regards to their potential environmental impacts. Instead, they spent more time justifying why soy wax isn’t more sustainable than paraffin, even arguing that it was ‘impossible and pointless’ to characterise a product to be ecological or environmental friendly since the terms are too vague. Despite the ongoing debate between soy and paraffin wax, it would be possible to produce wax from a third, more sustainable resource that has less of an impact on the environment, such as bee wax.
No information could be found regarding social contributions or employee well-being. Sex Wax appears to be solely defending themselves for their unsustainable product choices and hiding their production practices instead of making any commitments to sustainability. It is both a shame and alarming to know that this highly unsustainable product is still one of the most popular choices for surfboard wax.