I’m not a surfer, a scuba diver, or a triathlete, so the idea of neoprene wetsuits as a waste stream never really occurred to me. And while I have no idea how many of these products end up in the landfill each year, I do know that neoprene can’t be recycled through conventional means (i.e., you can’t throw them in the blue bin). But startup Suga has figured out a way to keep these items out of the dump: they recycle them into yoga mats.
That’s not only great news for wetsuit waste, but as old friend Simran Sethi showed us years ago, that’s also a step forward for more sustainable yoga practice. As she noted back in 2008, an awful lot of yoga mats are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is pretty nasty stuff. Yes, there are mats made from other materials, but even as issues surrounding PVC have received more attention, it’s still the most popular material for these products.
According to Suga, recycling neoprene wetsuits into yoga mats not only avoids the use of PVC, but also results in a cleaner, safer product: “Because Suga mats are manufactured from neoprene, they’re uniquely closed-cell foam, which means they don’t sponge up bacteria, sweat, dust, and dirt from yoga studio floors like other mats.” The company notes that it also makes use of all of its scraps, and even plans to recycle worn-out Suga mats when they’ve reached the end of their useful life.
Very interesting! While Suga has hit its goal on the Kickstarter project from which the video above comes, they’ve still got rewards available (including the mats themselves), so consider joining in their efforts over the remaining six days of the campaign.
Got thoughts? Know more about wetsuits and/or yoga mats? Share your thoughts with us…
Featured photo credit: Screen capture from Suga Kickstarter video