Finisterre states that the manufacturing process of wetsuits and other neoprene products is toxic, as finite rubber and limestone create levels of pollution dangerous to wildlife and people, and wetsuits are currently recycled on a large scale so end up in landfills.
To combat this, Finisterre is launching an innovative 100 percent recyclable neoprene partnership with Suffolk-based Circular Flow, which has developed the technology and manufacturing processes to recycle neoprene into a new sheet of fabric, something which it claims has never been done before.
Finisterre notes that 8,380 tonnes of wetsuits are discarded into landfills or incinerated across the globe and it is hoping that its partnership will recycle old wetsuits for use again and again to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment and oceans.
Circular Flow can process 100 percent of returned neoprene items, including zips and plastic elements, into recycled neoprene sheets 100 percent fit for creating new neoprene items. It also adds that Circular Flow can accept the recycled product back for recycling up to seven times, which can extend the life of an item from two to over 20 years on average.
Finisterre to recycle wetsuits with Circular Flow to create recycled neoprene products in spring 2023
As part of the initiative, Finisterre is offering a take-bake scheme for wetsuits of any brand and condition to be dropped off at any Finisterre store or sent via freepost during June in exchange for 20 percent off a future purchase. Once they have reached their target of 1,000 wetsuits, they will then be shipped to the Circular Flow factory and recycling plant and made into new products and retailed again.
Finisterre adds that it hopes to release a series of recycled neoprene products from its Circular Flow partnership in spring 2023, with a particular focus on recycled boots, gloves, hats, and other items to be worn in the water.
Finisterre founder Tom Kay said in a statement: “There have been great advances in eco wetsuits and the search for alternatives to petroleum-based neoprene, but the real elephant in the room for the water-sports industry is what to do with a wetsuit at the end of its functional life.
“We are therefore very excited to have finally found a closed loop solution for wetsuit and neoprene waste – and we have been searching for some time!”