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Developing recyclable wetsuits with Finisterre

26 March 2018

2 minutes to read

Developing recyclable wetsuits with Finisterre

There are more than 500,000 surfers in the United Kingdom who, on average, will replace their wetsuits once every two years. The result of this? The equivalent of more than thirty London double decker buses being discarded every year. Three hundred and eighty tonnes of non-biodegradable chemical-based waste, every single year.

As committed surfers, we all have a stack of old suits laying around somewhere. Whilst there are initiatives that exist around the down-cycling of old wetsuits, yoga mats and beer koozies fall short of producing a real solution.


To address this problem and realising that it is a very specialist area, Finisterre approached the University of Exeter Centre for Alternative Materials and Remanufacturing (CALMARE). Through a two year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Finisterre has since appointed a full time Wetsuit Recycler, Jenny Banks, to work with Professor Oana Ghita and the staff at CALMARE looking at neoprene degradation and investigating re-manufacturing and circular economy initiatives.

To find out more about the project, visit Finisterre’s #WetsuitsFromWetsuits website.

Eco wetsuits

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.

Tom Kay, Founder, Finisterre, said: “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.”


About Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) aim to help businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills within the UK knowledge base. This KTP project was co-funded by UKRI through Innovate UK and Finisterre.

For more information please contact:

Sophie O’Callaghan, Commercial and Business Programmes Manager (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships)


Professor Oana Ghita


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