British outdoor brand Alpkit is partnering with Circular Flow to close the loop on wetsuit recycling.
Did you know that 20,000 tonnes of neoprene go into landfill each year? With interest in open water swimming increasing and consumers spending more on outdoor sports, this means that more neoprene is going into landfill each year than ever before. Wetsuit recycling could be one answer.
After seven years of making wetsuits, British outdoor brand Alpkit has teamed up with Circular Flow to recycle old wetsuits into new, re-purposed product.
How it works
The brand – which focuses on sustainability and has B-Corp certification – has a repair station in every store, where wetsuits can be repaired, reused or passed on through their Continuum Project. As well as Alpkit wetsuits, they will also accept any brand of wetsuit and any neoprene product.
However, for wetsuits that were too battered to be passed onto a new home, there was no clear initiative for recycling or re-purposing these neoprene products. Circular Flow is a sustainable solution to this problem.
Circular Flow has created an effective and sustainable solution to recycle neoprene, which is the result of six years of development in partnership with The University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy in Bulgaria. It is now possible to connect shredded wetsuit particles, to create a stable and durable material.
Circular Flow has expanded their process, so this material can be laminated to almost any textile material, with no burning, melting or toxic chemicals required. This significantly extends the materials and product ranges Circular can offer and creates another avenue for sustainable product manufacturing.
You can drop your unwanted wetsuit off at any Alpkit store or send it to them via a free returns service (whatever brand your wetsuit). The store teams will then sort it and send it to Circular Flow to be recycled into new neoprene. Alpkit aims to send at least one tonne of neoprene to Circular Flow to help do their bit in reducing waste.