Wetsuits are primarily made out of neoprene, a non-biodegradable material made from petroleum. They’re bad for landfills, but ideal for making drink koozies, yoga mats, and small home improvement projects.
How Long Will a Scuba Wetsuit Last?
A quality wetsuit can last one to five years depending on how frequently you dive and how well it’s been cared for. To give your wetsuit the longest possible life, clean your wetsuit after every dive (or dive holiday) using a neoprene-safe shampoo. Let it completely air dry indoors or in a shady spot. Keep the wetsuit out of the sun as much as possible.
Neoprene compresses during every dive and, over time, loses its ability to insulate. So even if your wetsuit doesn’t show signs of wear, if it’s not keeping you warm during the dive you need to retire the suit. Other reasons to replace a wetsuit include: rips and tears, accumulated salt crystals, or if the suit no longer fits.
Donate Your Gently-Used Wetsuit
If you have a wetsuit in good condition that no longer fits, consider donating it. Companies such as Warm Current take used wetsuits and utilize them for free community programs. Because the wetsuits are used for surfing, Warm Current only needs 3/2 and 4/3 full wetsuits (no shorties, farmer johns, booties, or wetsuits with broken zippers, large holes, or other damage). Wetsuits can be mailed to: 15 NE Saratoga St. Portland, OR 97211.
Patagonia will take back any of the used products for reycling, including their wetsuits. Drop off your clean, dry wetsuit at the Patagonia Retail Store nearest you or at a participating Patagonia dealer. Items can also be mailed to the Patagonia Service Center at 8550 White Fir Street, Reno, NV 89523-8939, USA.
Upcycle Your Wetsuit
Green Guru (Worldwide, Primarily North America)
Green Guru accepts used bike tubes, wetsuits, and vinyl banners for upcycling. They do not accept wetsuit booties, gloves or anything slimey. Depending on the material, donations are made into backpacks, insulated drink sleeves and bike carriers, and other outdoor gear.
To donate, first send a picture of your item to RECYCLING @GREENGURUGEAR.COM. The company will confirm whether they can accept your donation or not. If approved, you can mail it to Green Guru or drop it off at a participating retail location.
Suga (Canada, US)
Suga makes yoga mays and beach changing mats out of old wetsuits. Over the last few years, Suga has collected more than 12,500 used wetsuits and diverted more than 32 tons of waste from landfills. Donate to Suga by dropping off your clean, dry wetsuit at a participating surf shop in the US or Canada or mail to: SUGA, LLC 1106 2nd St., Suite 862 Encinitas, CA 92024, USA.
Lava Rubber (US)
New Jersey-based Lava Rubber makes yoga mats, coasters, food mats for dogs and cats and other products out of used wetsuits.Learn more, or send clean donations to:
2138 Bridge Ave.
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742
DIY Ideas for a Used Wetsuit
If you have a pair of scissors, a leather needle and a thimble, you can easily transform an old wetsuit into useful household items such as beer koozies, aGoPro case, laptop sleeve, or a sunglass holder.
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