Wetsuits are an expensive investment. They also are your best friend when it comes to cold water. Depending on how often you use it, wetsuits can last between one and five years. Once your old wetsuit becomes stiff with holes in it from use, it’s time to give it a new life. Wetsuits are made out of neoprene which is not environmentally sustainable. In fact, neoprene is made out of petroleum and does not biodegrade. So, throwing those old wetties in the landfill is not a good idea and terrible for the environment. Instead, find ways to recycle your old wetsuit. From donating it, to getting creative with your own projects, here are three ways to recycle old wetsuits:
1. Donate it for reuse
Regardless of how old or weathered your wetsuit is, charitable organizations will happily take it. Organizations, like Warm Current, holds free youth surf camps in the Pacific Northwest and also sends used wetsuits to youth development programs in Chile, Mexico, and Peru. Other organizations, like AmpSurf, helps disabled children, veterans and other adults feel the healing power of the sea through adaptive programs.
2. Recycle it and give it a new life
Recycle your old wetsuit if it is too destroyed and cannot be reused. One organization in particular, Suga, will take your old wetsuit and turn it into a yoga mat and give you a ten percent discount on a purchase. Another organization, Lava Rubber, turns them into coasters, mats, and spoon rests.
3. Create a fun “diy” projects
For creative people, neoprene is an extremely versatile material. Make small patches of neoprene to have on hand to patch up a wetsuit when you accidentally have a run in with some rocks. Or, for those who get excited about the hot shower post surf session, make a koozie that will fit around your jug of water that you rinse off with. Fill that jug with hot water, throw the koozie on, and you’ll enjoy that post surf session rinse down even more. Or, consider making a case for your GoPro, laptop, or camera gear. Protect your vulnerable gear.
The necessity to reduce, reuse, and recycle falls in every person’s hands. Get creative with how you choose to make the Earth a cleaner and greener place. Being a surfer means that caring for the ocean is a top priority. Find ways to recycle old wetsuits, your old boards, or really any of your old gear.