PADI is has partnered with recycling company Circular Flow to trial a new initiative to recycle old and discarded wetsuits.
An estimated 7,602 tonnes of old wetsuits are discarded every year, with the majority headed for landfill due to a lack of recycling systems for neoprene. The new partnership hopes to address the problem by collecting unused wetsuits from dive centres around the world to turn them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. A trial to test the feasibility of the programme has begun in the UK and will continue until 22 August.
‘PADI is committed to help reduce the global environmental footprint of the dive industry and support our members and divers to reduce impact as well,’ said Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. ‘We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs [dive centres] across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community.’
During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres until 22 August. PADI and Circular Flow will then arrange for the free collection of the items for recycling. Circular Flow will implement an innovative process to recycle the neoprene in an evironmentally friendly manner.
So far, 30 dive centres have signed up to the initiative, from a total of 50 possible collection slots, although neither PADI nor Circular Flow are advertising which dive centres are participating, so you’ll need to check with your local centre to find out.
To learn more about the programme, or sign up as a dive centre owner for one of the remaining pickup slots, visit circularflow.net/padi