Finisterre to recycle discarded synthetic rubber wetsuits into new ones

August 28, 2017

Finisterre-to-recycle-discarded-syntheticUK-based cold water surfing apparel company Finisterre is the first in the world to launch a design project to produce new wetsuits made from discarded ones made from synthetic rubber in a move aimed to cut back on the chemical neoprene waste being generated as the sport becomes more mainstream.

More women are riding the waves, surfing in colder waters such as the Atlantic. Now, the sport has a big following and will make its debut in the 2020 Olympics.

Finisterre, which has four UK stores in the south west and London, sells ethical, own-designed and largely UK-made ranges of waterproofs, knitwear and wetsuits.

It will co-fund the £150,000 the two-year programme with government technology enterprise agency Innovate UK.

With surfers now replacing their outfits every two years, the sport needs a more lasting solution to the preloved mountain other than the current down-cycling ones such as turning old fabric into yoga and mouse mats or drinks holders, according to Finisterre owner founder Tom Kay.

“The elephant in the room is what to do with a non-biodegradable wetsuit at the end of its functional life,” he says.“It’s becoming a massive, global problem. In the UK alone we discard enough wetsuits to fill 30 double decker buses every year.

Kay said their initiative aims to develop a closed loop production cycle as manufacturing recycled, recyclable wetsuits is vital.

Finisterre, based in St. Agnes, Cornwall where Kay takes the helm of the lifeboat, will collaborate with Exeter University’s materials re-engineering centre on the project. They are now looking for a scientist who will carry out the research.

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