As summer is coming closer to its end and people are heading back to school and work after a vacation, a variety of summer gear is getting left behind. Those flip-flops you bought, that oversized sun hat, those wetsuits, all are just sitting in your closet until next year’s summer. If you’ve had an unusually busy summer with your wetsuit, then it might even be time to get rid of it completely.
Things to Do with Old Wetsuits
All wetsuits eventually start to lose their flexibility and wear down, but how can you tell that your wetsuit is ready to be passed on for another use? The biggest indication of a worn-out wetsuit is the appearance of holes or tears in the suit in areas that are more exposed to friction like the crotch and the underarm regions.
Once you decide that it is ready to move on, it can be a little difficult to figure out what to do with old wetsuits. You can’t just pass it down to a friend or family member, especially if it’s got a web of holes and is losing its flexibility.
Essentially, you want to use the wetsuit in a way that’s not really a wetsuit anymore, but it can be challenging to decide what to do with old wetsuits. Here are a few different things you can do to put your old wetsuits to good use.
1. Repurposed by Companies
Throwing away an old wetsuit is never a good option because it’s essentially just a pile of synthetic rubber that ends up in a landfill. A good option is donating your old wetsuit to a company that can use a synthetic rubber. This way, you help the environment by keeping unnecessary waste out of landfills and dumps, keeping the earth cleaner and healthier.
In fact, different organizations recycle the material from scuba wetsuits into new items, like mats, ropes and laptop cases. One such organization that you can donate to is Green Guru Gear. This Colorado-based company gives a new meaning to old wetsuits.
They upcycle wetsuits into other things like backpacking gear, drink carriers, and a variety of other things. Donating to an organization like Green Guru Gear also helps the local community, as they work within their area to upcycle and manufacture their products.
Another company you can have your old wetsuit repurposed by is Lava Rubber. This organization is based in New Jersey and uses old wetsuits to create doormats and the like. They actually custom-make these mats for boats, doors, and even for pet food mats.
They are great organizations to give your wetsuits because you can even mail in your suits if you’re unable to visit in person. Besides these two organizations, there are many other companies you can give your wetsuits based on what you’re passionate about or interested in.
2. Repurposed by People
If your wetsuit is a little old but still in working order, you can give it to the people who can make use of it. There are lots of non-profit agencies or charities that work to build connections between the ocean and the people who love the ocean but can’t afford or don’t have access to the necessary equipment to enjoy it.
The people who need equipment like wetsuits and other used gear can benefit from your old wetsuits. The charities that provide these items to those in need, like Resurf, often also provide them with other opportunities for growth and development. They have free tutorials and lessons about many water-related activities that they can take advantage of.
Similarly, you can check out your local surf or diving center to see if there’s a need for any scuba suits. Community centers often accept lightly used items of this kind of gear to provide those members who enjoy the activity but can’t afford the cost of a new scuba wetsuit. By giving to your local community recreation center, you’re helping your community by fulfilling a need, and you’re helping yourself by getting a cleaner closet.
In these ways, you can have your old scuba wetsuit repurposed for the use of people in need.
3. Repurposed by You
Finally, you can always DIY something that you need from an old wetsuit. As your suit starts to wear down and get patchy in areas, you may not be able to use it for surfing or diving, but you can still use it for other things.
An easy way to repurpose an old scuba wetsuit is to use it for those times when you’re not scuba diving but are still going into the water. Sure, they won’t keep you as warm as a brand-new scuba wetsuit, but they still fulfill a need for wearing some type of wet gear. This saves your old wetsuit from a trip to the trash bin and prolongs the life of your new wetsuit as you only wear it while scuba diving and reduce the amount of wear and tear on it.
Alternatively, if your wetsuit has too many holes to wear it for any water-related activity, you can still use it to make other items. If you go scuba diving often, you know how good it feels to have a warm bottle of water waiting for you after a chilly dip. You can easily make a bottle cover or insulator with the fabric from your old wetsuit.
On the same note, most of the covers you use to protect your camera and even phone are made from similar material used to construct wetsuits. You can learn how to make a cover or case for your precious gear yourself instead of having to pay money to buy a new one.
Those are just a few ways you can reuse your old wetsuits. Ultimately, with your old wetsuit, you enjoy making DIY projects or feel fulfilled just by giving it to those in need. No matter which way you choose to contribute, you’re still making a difference in the earth and the lives of the people who benefit from your donation.