Published On: Sat, Aug 26th, 2017

FINISTERRE to turn the tide on waste with making wetsuits-from-wetsuits project

The goal is to turn back the growing tide of 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 has a big following and the sport 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.

“Creating a recycled, recyclable wetsuit is vital. Our initiative is to devise that closed loop production cycle.”

Finisterre, based in St Agnes, Cornwall where Kay takes the helm of the lifeboat, will collaborate with Exeter University’s materials reengineering centre on the project.

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