Wetsuits and other neoprene products are often underestimated as a source of pollution and landfill waste. However, the exponential growth of the number of people who practice various water sports, coupled with the lack of sustainable collection and recycling systems for this type of products means that the issue is more serious than ever.
We calculate that globally, an estimated 8,380 tonnes of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority probably headed for landfill.
The calculation is as follows:
We have applied circa $300 USD as the average price of a wetsuit. This is very conservative due to the high volume of supermarket suits that are now being sold.
We have applied an average weight of 1.5kg
Based on our own experience and retail contact research, we have chosen to be conservative again with the average lifespan and have put this as 5 years. So based on the global market value being approx. $1.7bn in 2017/ 5.6m units sold, we estimate that those units would reach their end of life by 2021 which would be around 8,380 tonnes of neoprene probably headed for landfill.