Wetsuit Recycling: Everything You Need to Know
The world of water sports has long been intertwined with the beauty of our oceans. Whether it's surfing the swells at the coast or diving down the explore the seabed, as more people take up these water based activities, the demand for wetsuits, essential gear for maintaining comfort and safety in cold water, has skyrocketed. Each year, an estimated 8,380 tonnes of wetsuit waste end up in landfill.
Wetsuits are typically made from synthetic materials like neoprene, which, while excellent for keeping divers and surfers warm, are not biodegradable. This poses a significant problem as old or damaged wetsuits eventually end up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to break down.
As part of our ongoing sustainability journey, we've spent time researching into ways we can help keep used wetsuits from going to landfill, leading us to find some fantastic businesses across the South of England who are doing their best to help reduce this waste. Each of the businesses that we're working with take used or broken wetsuits and recycling them in impressive ways, either reusing them for a great cause, or creating them into something new and unique.
Founded by Kate in 2021, Flotsam Flo is truly unique! Taking damaged waste items that can’t be easily recycled such as wetsuits, pool floats, life jackets and more, Kate creates fun and fashionable items such as backpacks, holdalls, keyrings and lunch bags saving the items from ending up in landfill.
Barefoot.Tech was started by Ffion in 2020, a fashion product designer based in South Wales. Born out of Ffion’s love for water skiing during lockdown, Barefoot.Tech takes a mixture of recycled wetsuits and lifejackets and recycles them into fashionable pieces such as wash bags, bucket hats and backpacks, saving them from being sent to landfill.
Barefoot.Tech uses a zero-waste approach and along with eco-friendly packaging, all other fabrics are recycled from deadstock or are second-hand making each handmade item truly unique.
Originated from a passion of the sea and eco-conscious values, Mindful Manta creates practical pouches, purses and bags perfect for everyday use. Based in Brighton and created by Paula, a Textile Design graduate with a passion for recycling and textile design, Mindful Manta aims to reduce the impact on our environment by saving durable material such as neoprene from landfill. Used wetsuits can be sent to Mindful Manta to be transformed into and for every item sold, a tree is planted.
THE WAVE PROJECT
Got a wetsuit you’re not longer using but is still in good nick? Take a look at donating it to The Wave Project.
The Wave Project is a Mental Health charity supporting children and young people across the UK, who experience a range of physical and mental health issues, social deprivation, or social isolation. Through courses such as surf Therapy, Adaptive surfing and Beach School, young people are supported with building confidence and self-esteem, developing resilience, and making new friendships.
Interested on finding out more about how to recycle your used wetsuit? Head over to our Wetsuit Recycling page for more information!