Penny skateboards are not a sustainable product. The company has a severe lack of transparency in their primary materials and production processes outside statements that they include recycled and biodegradable materials in their “secret formula”. The company makes a vague commitment to sustainability throughout the life cycle of their products, but makes no statements about ethical labor or DEI. Ultimately, Penny Australia has prioritized the quality of their products over any relevant commitment to sustainability.
Penny skateboards are made with a plastic deck, aluminum trucks, stainless steel bearings, and polyurethane wheels. As for the deck, there is almost no transparency regarding its composition as Penny uses a “secret formula”. As it is made of plastic, it can be assumed that it comes from petroleum products and therefore likely has high amounts of carbon emissions associated with its production. However, Penny does claim that they have reformulated their secret formula to include recycled materials and a biodegradable enzyme. Nevertheless, there is no information available about how much of the board is recycled material or what this biodegradable enzyme is or how it works. To give credit where credit is due, Penny skateboards are “built to take a beating” meaning their lifespan is much longer than that of a traditional skateboard. The aluminum trucks also likely have high emissions associated with them as the process of refining aluminum is very resource and energy intensive. Furthermore, mining aluminum typically has many negative ecological effects including biodiversity loss, groundwater contamination, and deforestation. On the bright side, aluminum is very easily and effectively recycled, but Penny does not provide any information as to how their aluminum is sourced or whether it is recycled. The wheels are made of polyurethane which is a petrochemical and therefore ascribes even more petroleum emissions to this product. As for packaging, Penny reports that they have redesigned their packaging to be 100% recyclable and have eliminated all plastic bags. Ultimately, while it is good to hear that Penny is using recyclable packaging and using more recycled and biodegradable materials in their skateboards, their overall lack of transparency and reliance on petroleum products earns them a poor score in this category.
There is quite literally no information available about how Penny skateboards are made, how much greenhouse gas the company emits, how much energy they use, or how much waste they produce. This lack of transparency is likely meant to keep their secret formula secret, but nevertheless, it is unacceptable. All that can be assumed is that, because the company is based in Australia and sell their products worldwide, there are likely large amounts of GHG emissions associated with product distribution.
Penny Australia is a company that has clearly prioritized product quality over environmental or social sustainability. As for environmental sustainability, they claim to be implementing a sustainability plan that encompasses the entire lifespan of all the materials they use, but no details are provided. Penny makes no statements about commitments to ethical labor or diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the only thing that comes close is their baseless claim that someone from “every age, race, and gender” owns a Penny skateboard.