Wetsuits: don't throw your old neoprene away - recycle it | Photo: Shutterstock

Discover new uses and ideas for your tattered wetsuits. Give your old neoprene a new life, and keep it out of the landfill.

Wetsuits can be an expensive investment. Depending on how active you are, a wetsuit may last between one and five years. So, if you're surfing on a regular basis for over a decade, you may have already bought three or four wetsuits.

However, when the neoprene becomes really old, stiff and full of holes, it's time to put it away. Instead of leaving it in the garage waiting for an opportunity that never comes, plan a new future for it.

Because neoprene is such a versatile material, there are many handy things you can do by simply recycling your wetsuit. There are basically three options: recycle/upcycle, rebuild, or donate.

Don't trash wetsuits or throw them away. Remember that neoprene is a petroleum-based, non-biodegradable material. There's a new life waiting for your second skin.

Recycle/Upcycle Your Old Wetsuit

SugaMat: made from recycled neoprene

With a pair of scissors and a surfer's imagination, you can create a wide range of exciting new items for your daily life.

Bracelets, laptop protections, spoon rests, camera cases, thermal sleeves, keychain pouches, mouse pads, fin cases, beach accessories, dresses, tops, skirts, jackets and yoga mats are some of the useful things you can develop by using neoprene.

If you're not a DIY specialist, you can always offer your washed-up wetsuit to organizations running wetsuit recycling programs. They will cut the best parts of the neoprene and create brand new products.

Lava Rubber, Green Guru, Néocombine, SugaMat, and Kassia transform tattered neoprene into cool and trendy products.

Donate Your Old Wetsuit

Wetsuit: donate your half-worn wetsuit and make underprivileged children happy | Photo: Warm Current

There many organizations that will collect your half-worn wetsuit and send it to disadvantaged youth communities that will make good use of it. Just clean it and dry it up, and give it away.

Warm Current, AmpSurf, and ReSurf are accepting your old wetsuit and will make sure underprivileged surfing enthusiasts get protected in cold water environments.

Rebuild or Repair Your (Old) Wetsuit

Sometimes, a small neoprene patch is all you need to extend the lifetime of your wetsuit. It's quite easy to repair holes and tears in the neoprene. Cut a piece of synthetic rubber from an unwanted model and apply it to you latest protection.

But if your wetsuit is severely damaged, you can always try and cut the arms or legs off, and build a new wetsuit that can be used in an emergency; you may end up with a warmer surf protection. And that's making a wetsuit from a wetsuit.