While there have been great advances in new eco friendly neoprenes for wetsuits, and great recycling projects we have a massive problem; we are still dumping too much neoprene into landfill.
Ask any surfer how many wetsuits they have. Most will say they have two. Then ask how many old wetsuits they have; most have four or five all sat unwanted, in a cupboard, spare room or garage waiting for the day they go to landfill.
It isn’t good enough, and we – surfers, brands and manufacturers need to address the problem.
In a new initiative #WetsuitsFromWetsuits Finisterre in partnership with Exeter University’s centre of excellence for Materials Reengineering – are offering a full-time job for a Wetsuit Recycler in support of the brand’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.
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. The neoprene is non biodegradable and will still end up in landfill at some point in its lifetime.
The new programme will look into cutting edge material science to try to find solutions to try and bring an industrial sale change.
“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.” says Tom Kay, Finisterre founder
“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.”
This is equivalent to more than thirty of London’s double decker buses worth of wetsuits being discarded every year. That’s 380 tonnes of non-biodegradable chemical-based waste, each and every year.
In a bid to address this, Finisterre are recruiting a full-time Wetsuit Recycler. Supported by Professor Oana Ghita from Exeter University, and with the potential to bring positive change on a massive scale, the position is open to anybody; the ultimate aim being to make wetsuits from wetsuits.
“This is a genuinely pioneering positon and success is not guaranteed. We are looking for somebody with an inquisitive mind who can challenge the status quo, whilst being supported by a leading scientific institution. It’s a very exciting opportunity, bringing together innovation and sustainability, with the aim of addressing a huge environmental problem.”
It is full time two year contract with over £50,000 being invested. With an initial challenge to make wetsuit from wetsuits the main target is to find a solution and join the dots to make a closed loop system addressing the currently huge environmental issue of what to do with wetsuits at their end of their functional life.
The aim is to develop a fully recycled and recyclable wetsuit, investigating options for materials, manufacturing and recycling processes, carrying out in depth materials and industry analysis, developing new testing techniques and investigating remanufacturing and circular economy concepts.
Want in? More info here
Materials Scientist | Wetsuit Recycling
Together, Finisterre and Exeter University are recruiting a Materials Scientist to support the work of University Professor Oana Ghita, and Finisterre, specifically focussing on the recycling of wetsuits. This is a full-time fixed-term 2 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with the ultimate goal being to ‘make wetsuits from wetsuits’. It requires a new way of looking at the manufacture of wetsuits and will contribute to a closed loop process, thereby addressing the currently huge environmental issue of what to do with wetsuits at their end of their functional life.
Working within the Finisterre team and under the guidance of leading materials Professor Oana Ghita, the aim is to develop a fully recycled and recyclable wetsuit, investigating options for materials, manufacturing and recycling processes, carrying out in depth materials and industry analysis, developing new testing techniques and investigating remanufacturing and circular economy concepts. The post is based in St. Agnes, Cornwall within Finisterre’s Workshop.
This exciting role will shape the future of wetsuit design and the successful applicant will need to be passionate and committed with a willingness to challenge the status quo. The position will give you the chance to develop a wide skill base covering design, manufacturing, product development and its commercial application. It is an exciting opportunity bridging the gap between research and business at the frontline of materials research within the surfing industry, working in a brand that is known for its innovative approach to product design.
Application closing date: 17/08/2017
To find out more and apply visit