Stab Magazine | Improving The World, One Wetsuit At A Time

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Improving The World, One Wetsuit At A Time

#wetsuitsforwetsuits

news // Jul 30, 2017
Words by Jake Ross
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Want to change the environment, without changing your daily habit? 
If so read on..

.

Depending on your level of enthusiasm, all too soon the time comes around where you’ll fall victim to a (desktop) window shop binge on wetsuits. Now, are you the flamboyant surfer in the white? Or, a stealth ninja, draped in black? Do you flaunt your disposable loot or simply value warmth? 3/4, 3/2, tropical or cold water?

Perhaps you should be wondering: Where does my old neoprene onesie end up?

Here are some interesting facts. 
There are an estimated 5.6 million surfers in the USA, 3 million in Brazil, 2.5 million in Australia and 500k in the UK. That’s equivalent to around 6.2k tonnes or 54 blue neoprene whales worth of non-biodegradable chemical waste being lost each year. Unused wetsuits fermenting in plastic buckets in garages and the back of cars worldwide. And with the introduction of surfing at the 2020 Olympices, surfing will sky rocket, and those numbers will explode. 



Patagonia’s wetsuit manager John Hubbard tells us, “the first version of neoprene was actually used to line the bottoms of landfills, so what that tells you about it’s biodegradability is that it’s the worst.”

Now, I too fall victim to neoprene recycling abuse. Often I’ll stash my old suits on the drying rack, untouched outside of dust and arachnids. But here’s an idea.

Meet Finisterre, they’re collecting preloved neoprene, experimenting and adapting to release a collection of recycled wetsuits. Thus changing those worrying statistics, for a cleaner future for you and I, #wetsuitsfromwetsuits. Catchy, isn’t it?

And that’s not even the best part.

Finisterre wetsuit

“There have been some great advances in eco wetsuits and the search for alternatives to petroleum based neoprene, but the real elephant in the room for the watersports industry is what to do with a wetsuit at the end of its functional life. It’s a massive, global problem that we need to address; in this day and age there has to be a solution, and this is what we’re committed to finding. In the UK alone, surfers are replacing their suits on average every two years, with no real idea what to do with their old suits.” Tom Kay, Finisterre founder.

You can work with Finisterre. You, no matter how serious of a wetsuit hoarder you are, can be the lead designer. The Steve Jobs of wetsuits. With an aim of making wetsuits from wetsuits with a two year posting to Cornwall.

Here’s their proposition:

We are looking to recruit a Materials Scientist to support the work of University Professor Oana Ghita, and Finisterre, specifically focussing on the recycling of wetsuits. This is a full-time fixed-term 2 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with the ultimate goal being to be able ‘to make wetsuits from wetsuits’. It requires a new way of looking at the manufacture of wetsuits and will contribute to a closed loop process, thereby addressing the currently huge environmental issue of what to do with wetsuits at their end of their functional life.

Let’s revolutionise the suit disposal system and create something new. If you think the role’s right for you, head here and begin your environmental good deed.

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