Water sports garment production is inherently a big-energy process, so how do we ocean lovers still enjoy quality gear while mitigating our impact on the planet?
Ocean Performance Sports Brand Vaikobi, is working with TerraCycle® to launch its new recycling initiative which will reduce garment waste and provide peace of mind for environmentally conscious customers. The initiative will invite paddlers, sailors, and ocean enthusiasts to send back or drop off their old gear at a designated location, to be collected and made into new products.
Taking advantage of recycling programs like this will see a shift in the watersports industry waste management as we move towards cleaner, planet-friendly alternatives to neoprene and life jacket foam. Incentives are also offered to returning customers who choose to recycle their Vaikobi gear at our designated drop-off zone.
Why should you recycle your old watersports gear?
Almost all wetsuits, base layers, and cold-water garments contain neoprene. Neoprene, or polychloroprene, is a synthetic rubber product that takes over 100 years to break down in landfill. It is resistant to water, heat, and oil, thus making it the critical material in producing the most effective wetsuits. By participating in neoprene recycling initiatives, old garments can be used to make new ones. By not starting from scratch, these recycled components significantly reduce the environmental impact of the industrial manufacturing process.
Similarly, foam lifejackets tend to have a maximum lifespan of ten years in good conditions and contain products that don’t degrade properly in landfills. Other materials that are used to produce performance gear include nylon, spandex, and polyester. While traditional programs and council pickups don’t offer services to recycle materials like these, they are just as valuable in forming new products. There is a massive opportunity to do some good here!
How to recycle your old watersports gear with Vaikobi:
Vaikobi is thrilled to offer an innovative new recycling program for our old wetsuits, rashies, and paddle accessories, with a vision to expand it further across our retailer’s stores once we test the consumer appetite for this fantastic sustainability initiative. The Zero Waste Box™ system by TerraCycle® will be implemented at the Vaikobi Sydney headquarters in Warriewood on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. It is an all-inclusive recycling solution that takes responsibility for managing waste that isn’t accepted by your local council or traditional recycling facilities.
The drop-off box will live at the Vaikobi headquarters and will be open for customers to return their old Vaikobi gear. Vaikobi will send the returned gear back to TerraCycle®, where it will be sorted into basic material components and used to form new resources and products. For example, plastic zips will be separated, melted down, and turned into plastic pellets that can be moulded to form new products. Synthetic textiles such as neoprene and polyester are sorted by type and are pelletised in a similar process. This ultimately gives Vaikobi products a second life.
To show how committed Vaikobi is to making a difference in our industrial processes, customers who use the TerraCycle® recycling box will be given a 10% discount on a new Vaikobi purchase. The Zero Waste Box™ accepts almost every sporting product you can think of. See the extensive list below to better understand what can be recycled through this program.
Items you can drop into the Zero Waste Box™
Old clothing specific to watersports and similar recreational activities:
- Worn out wetsuits
- Unwanted neoprene
- Old Paddle pants
- Old rashies
- Old swimsuits
- Old wetsuit booties
- Old spray jackets
- Old leggings
- Old sunglasses
- Old neoprene socks
- Old gloves and neoprene pogies
How to recycle your old wetsuits and gear with Vaikobi:
Vaikobi welcomes people to bring their old or damaged watersports gear to our Vaikobi HW, where we have a Zero Waste Box™. Directions to Vaikobi HQ can be found here.
At Vaikobi, we are proud to be part of a program to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. We will continue to produce quality products for performance athletes and consumers while considering what’s best for the beautiful waterways, beaches, and coastal areas we love. Stay tuned for more sustainability initiatives to be released soon.