Wetsuits are a vital piece of equipment for anyone who enjoys water sports such as surfing, diving, and swimming.
Made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber, wetsuits are designed to keep the wearer warm in cold water. Neoprene retains heat by trapping a thin layer of water between the suit and the skin.
However, like all synthetic materials, wetsuits have a limited lifespan and eventually must be disposed of.
Fortunately, there are ways to recycle wetsuits, which can help reduce waste and protect the environment.
Keep reading to find our how to recycle your old wetsuits!
How to donate your wetsuit?
The first step in wetsuit recycling is to determine if it is still usable. If the suit is still in good shape and can be worn, there are several options for donating it to someone who could use it.
Many organisations, such as charities and youth groups, accept donated wetsuits to give to those who cannot afford one.
Some surf schools and rental shops also accept used wetsuits as loaner gear for their customers.
How to recycle your wetsuit?
If the wetsuit is no longer wearable, it can still be recycled. The neoprene material, or lava rubber, used to make wetsuits is synthetic rubber. Neoprene can be recycled into various products, including yoga mats, laptop sleeves, and even beer coasters.
Many companies, like Suga, that make wetsuits also offer wetsuit recycling programs to their customers. The wetsuit recycling programs allow old wetsuits can be returned to the manufacturer for recycling.
These programs often offer incentives, such as discounts on new wetsuits, to encourage customers to participate.
Some companies may also accept swim booties and surf equipment for their recycling programmes. However, check as brands like Warm Current and Kassia will only accept full wetsuits.
One such company is Patagonia. Patagonia is a leading outdoor gear manufacturer at the forefront of the movement to reduce waste and protect the environment.
Patagonia’s wetsuit recycling program, called Worn Wear, accepts old wetsuits from any brand and recycles them into new products.
Customers who send in their old wetsuits to Patagonia receive a discount on a new wetsuit or other product. Those who recycle their old wetsuits also get the satisfaction of knowing that their old gear is being put to good use.
Another company that offers a wetsuit recycling program is Rip Curl, a popular surf brand. Rip Curl’s E-Bomb program turns old wetsuits into surf accessories, such as traction pads and leashes.
Like Patagonia’s program, customers who send their old wetsuits to Rip Curl’s national recycling program receive a discount on a new wetsuit or other product.
So, when your wetsuit can’t take the dive anymore, there are many avenues to consider. Your battered suit could be turned into beautiful bracelets.
Recycled neoprene wetsuits
In addition to recycling wetsuits into new products, some companies use recycled neoprene to make new wetsuits.
One such company is Yulex, which makes wetsuits using natural rubber derived from sustainably harvested sources and recycled neoprene.
Using recycled neoprene in their wetsuits, Yulex can reduce the amount of waste in landfills and the environment.
What are the environmental benefits of recycling wetsuits?
Recycling wetsuits is an important part of the effort to reduce waste and protect the environment.
Donating old wetsuits or sending them to a wetsuit recycling program can help ensure they are put to good use rather than ending up in a landfill.
By supporting companies, such as Ampsurf, that use recycled neoprene in their wetsuits, we can encourage the development of more sustainable products and practices in the water sports industry.
What are the economic benefits of recycling wetsuits?
In addition to the environmental benefits, recycling wetsuits can also have economic benefits.
By creating a market for recycled neoprene, recycling programs and companies like Yulex can help to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
This can be especially important in areas where the water sports industry is a significant part of the local economy.
Another benefit of supporting these companies is it helps to fund initiatives, such as Warm Currents youth development programs.
These youth programs send recycled wetsuits to individuals in Chile, Mexico, and Peru who would not otherwise be able to afford them.
Protecting the environment should be a primary concern for individuals who love cold water swimming. An easy way to be sustainable and environmentally conscious is to recycle or purchase recycled swimming equipment.
Recycling wetsuits can also help to raise awareness about the importance of recycling raw materials and giving your old wetsuits a second life.
Whether you want to upcycle your surf wetsuits into a surfer bracelet, donate your suit to a sustainable brand, or reuse the non-biodegradable material for soft fall matting, neoprene has many purposes.