How to recycle a wetsuit
There is a lot of focus on making wetsuits more sustainable by adopting new production technologies and green material innovations. However, we can’t only leave reducing a wetsuit’s carbon footprint up to the manufacturers. There is a lot you can do to make surfing and wetsuits more eco-friendly. There is no need to throw your used wetsuits into a landfill just yet. The process of wetsuit recycling remains a challenge, but small steps are being made to improve this.
Buy high-quality products
To avoid unnecessary neoprene waste, try to buy a high-quality wetsuit. Especially one that lasts long, doesn’t fade or go out of fashion next season. When buying a new wetsuit, make sure it is made with the most sustainable materials and technologies that you can afford. Black is still the best and most sustainable colour to be used in wetsuits. Darker colours, in general, fade less and can be made with less pollutive pigments. Neon coloured materials are the worst for the environment.
Neoprene itself can’t be recycled back into raw neoprene to make wetsuits, unfortunately. The combination of different materials used in one wetsuit make this a challenge. However, there’s a great way to give your wetsuit a second life. Neoprene can be recycled by shredding it to pieces and moulding it into qualified products such as your new yoga mat. Other examples of recycled neoprene products are boxing bag fillings.
Donate to charity
Consider donating your used wetsuit to charity. When it’s still in good shape, but you don’t have use for it anymore. There are many NGO programs that help kids get off the street by teaching them how to surf.
Recycled neoprene waste materials
To ensure a wetsuit produces minimal waste material, it is important that a wetsuit designer has developed the best panel layout. This results in the most efficient patterns with the lowest yield rate. This means better cutting efficiency when cutting single panels out of a fixed size neoprene sheet to avoid excess cutoff materials. Luckily the biggest wetsuit manufacturer recycles their neoprene cutoff waist to be made into qualified products. Unfortunately, there are lots of small wetsuit factories that don’t care as much about the environment and throw offcuts into landfills.
Eco carbon black
Neoprene raw material is a yellow colour. But all neoprene foam used in wetsuits is black. One of the important ingredients of limestone neoprene is also what colours it black. This ingredient, eco carbon black, can now be harvested by recycling scrap rubber tires by utilizing a new technology called tire pyrolysis. This significantly reduces energy consumption and CO2 emission during the neoprene production process.
Recycled shipping bag
When buying a wetsuit online, the most sustainable way to ship it is in a recycled plastic shipping bag. Shipping bags reduce the volume of the package, which makes it possible for the courier to carry more parcels into his van. This reduces the amount of fuel needed for delivery. Make sure you always reuse or recycle your packaging when buying anything online.
SRFACE Shipping Bag
SRFACE wetsuits are shipped in recycled plastic bags. We have chosen a thick plastic to produce the bag. Therefore, it will survive the journey from the factory to you. On top of that, the SRFACE wetsuit bag is reusable. A closure rope is added to the bag, so it can be used as a wetsuit bag to store your wet wetsuit in your car.
Recycled plastic uses less water when it’s made compared to recycled carton boxes. And the fact that you can use the bag as a wetsuit bag means you don’t produce as much waste.
SRFACE is always on the lookout for new sustainable ways to lower our carbon footprint. Innovations in the wetsuit production process, materials, technologies and recycling initiatives. Do you have a great idea that we should look into? Let us know, we’re all ears.