100% recyclable wet suit invented
Published: 13 Aug 2019

In a victorious attempt to stop leftover waste material from wetsuits from going to waste, a small company in Cornwall, Finisterre, has pioneered a formula for a 100% recyclable wetsuit.

Finisterre, which specialises in outdoor apparel that is focused on sustainability and functionality, has been the headquarters for the marine conservation charity, 'Surfers against Sewage' - it is here where Tom Kay, the founder of the business, first aimed to create a 100% recyclable wetsuit.

Following the release of David Attenborough's Blue Planet II, there has been an influx in the number of people involved in the battle against single-use plastics. They have been clogging up the ocean water, and more people are beginning to campaign for change; surfers being among the most relevant - whilst not directly affecting the water by swimming and surfing in it, the use of wetsuits and subsequent discarding of them is having a highly negative impact, due to their lack of recyclability.

Wetsuits are manufactured with Neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber (that was originally invented to line landfill sites) with a mix of other substances, which is not currently recyclable. It is estimated that nearly 380 tonnes of wetsuit waste is dumped every year - this grand number is definitely having an adverse effect on the environment. Whilst the company Finisterre has been using a biodegradable rubber in their wetsuits for a while - they make them with Econyl, recycled nylon from discarded fishing nets and carpet tiles - they are looking to take it to the next step. In order to achieve this dream, Finisterre has hired a full-time wetsuit recycler, the only in the world, to help engineer the solution.

The company aims to share their way of creating a recyclable wetsuit so other companies can follow it and prove an economic case, which has waste as a resource at its core.