Upcycle Your Old Wetsuits | pebble magazine
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This Company Wants To Upcycle Your Old Wetsuits

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This Company Wants To Upcycle Your Old Wetsuits

News

Do you have an old wetsuit that could be upcycled? This new campaign looks to save wetsuits from landfill and give them a second life.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Fri 9 Apr 2021

Did you know that around 380 tonnes of wetsuits end up in landfill each year?

In addition to this, wetsuits can contain up to 15 different materials which can’t be separated at the end of a suits life making recycling near impossible.

So while being in the water and being outside all year round is great for mental health and our awareness of the environment, wetsuits have a huge impact on that same environment.

Two independent retailers have collaborated to launch a range of products made of 100% discarded wetsuit material to reuse the huge number of wetsuits ending up in landfill.

Surfing and outdoor enthusiast, Adam Costello, is the face behind Inland Sea, an ethical clothing company founded, in 2017.

Kendal based ethical business Dirtbags re-use and recycle textile and plastic waste generated by the outdoor recreation industry.

surfer widing a wave

Nearly 5 million wetsuits are sold every year and none of them can be recycled

What are wetsuits made of?

Wetsuit material, neoprene, was originally made as a lining for landill sites. It's an oil based material made from petroleum which cannot be recycled, they don't biodegrade but they do break down into smaller particles and harmful chemicals which can leach into our environment.

"Nearly five million wetsuits are sold every year which are harmful to our environment"

DROP IN Campaign

Dirtbags and Inland Sea have combined to launch a nationwide campaign for people to 'drop in' their old wetsuits at a number of nationwide collection points.

Dirtbags will then up-cycle the wetsuits into changing and yoga mats, laptop covers, phone cases and other useful products.

Adam explains: "The ultimate goal is to see wetsuit manufactures change the way suits are made to tackle the problem at the root, but right now we have 380 tonnes of wetsuit going straight to landfill each year.

While recycling isn’t an option, upcycling wetsuits into useful products is something we can do and hope to see more businesses doing in the future. We want to draw the government's attention to this problem and people’s eagerness to tackle the climate emergency."

woman in wetsuit leaving the sea

Do you have an old wetsuit at home you'd like to donate?

Adam adds, ‘During lockdown while our pools have been closed we’ve seen a huge rise in people swimming outdoors, in our oceans, rivers and lakes which is fantastic. However, this has meant an increase in the demand for wetsuits.

Nearly five million wetsuits are sold every year which are harmful to our environment and the wetsuit industry alone is said to be worth up to $1.18 billion.

Our goal is to reuse as many wetsuits as possible to keep them out of landfill sites. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Dirtbags on this project, who are experts in this field."

The scheme will run all through the summer months with various drop off points listed on the Inland Sea website.

Inland Sea will also accept old wetsuits by post. They request the wetsuits are dry and clean and posted to - Inland Sea, Floor 2, The Old Sunday school, Roe Street, Macclesfield, SK11 2UT

To find out more about where you can drop off your old wetsuits, visit www.inlandsea.co.uk.

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