The World’s First Fully Recyclable Wetsuit & Where to Recycle Yours!
Wondering how many surf puns we'll try and fit into this blog? You'll have to wait andsea!
Did you know…It's estimated that 380 tonnes of wetsuit waste is dumped annually into landfills in the UK, but allow us to introduce you to the group of UK legends creating the solution, and how we here in Australia can help too !
Finisterre is an outdoor apparel company focused on sustainability and functionality. Finisterre are based in St Agnes, Cornwall, and founded by Tom Kay in 2003 they are recognised as a cold water surf company.
The team has an incredible wetsuit recycling program called Wetsuits from Wetsuits, because indeed, wetsuits normally end up in landfills…. But Finisterre's mission doesn't end there. Their goal now is to introduce closed-loop manufacturing to the surf industry and create the first fully recyclable wetsuit!
*waves of excitement*
What Are Wetsuits Made From?
Another reason we love this company is because Finisterre uses biodegradable rubber in its suits. *woot woot* They also make their clothes from Econyl, recycled nylon made from discarded fishing nets and carpet tiles. Fully recyclable wetsuits are the next step, and we have complete faith in them!
Wetsuits are made from Neoprene. Neoprene (polychloroprene) is a synthetic rubber resistant to water, oil, and heat, making it a good insulator for those chilly winter surfs!
Many different types of Neoprene play a significant role in the overall performance of wetsuits. The best Neoprene is insulating, lightweight, stretchy, durable, and hydrophobic (making it absorb less water).
However, Neoprene and other materials used in these conventional wetsuits are nearly impossible to separate at the end of a suit's life… until now!
The Recycled Wetsuit Plan!
Finisterre plans to design a wetsuit made of a limited number of materials to maximise the quality of rubber and other materials that can be recovered in the recycling process. Yay, go, team!
By simplifying the materials within their suits, they can maximise the amount of good quality, pure material that can then be recovered and reintroduced into wetsuit manufacturing.
With the prototypes created and ready, there is still much more testing to go! The next step is to test the suit's temperature sensors for a more precise assessment!
"We could have waited for one of the bigger wetsuit brands to figure this all out, but we didn't, which I think is testament to how dedicated we are to our ethos of looking after our environment and bringing about positive change…." Tom Kay, Founder of Finisterre.
Can I recycle my wetsuit in Australia?
Brands a little closer to home likeBillabong andRipcurl are catching on and creating wetsuits made from recycled fibres too and it doesn't stop there! Our friends from Ripcurl are expanding their wetsuit recycling program with Terracycle!
Earlier this year, in partnership with global recycling leaderTerraCycle, Rip Curl announced the launch of a Wetsuit Take Back Recycling Program across Australia. Surfers across the country can recycle any surf-branded wetsuit at participating Rip Curl stores. All recycled rubber will now be repurposed in the safety attenuation layer of soft fall matting used at playgrounds and outdoor gyms. How amazing is that!
You can find a Ripcurl Recycling Location near youhere!
It surfs up GFZ's! That is the 3rd pun, but who's counting?