Australian surf brand Rip Curl has started an initiative to recycle used wetsuits in collaboration with TerraCycle, private U.S.-based recycling business headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey. Old and useless surfing wetsuits will be recycled as part of the Recycle Your Wetsuit program so that the materials obtained can be used to create soft rubber playground matting.

In 2021, the program was initially introduced in Australia, and since then, it has also been promoted in the United States, France, Portugal, and Spain. Surfers in Australia have the option to recycle any surfing wetsuit at authorized stores either in-person or via mail. The Recycle Your Wetsuit program has now been expanded to reduce the impact of wetsuit waste.

"We are incredibly proud of our partnership with TerraCycle, as a leader in the recycling space. With some of our core values at Rip Curl being community and environment, the Recycle Your Wetsuit program is extremely important to us. We have seen a significant uptake of the program on our home soil and look forward to the response internationally," says Shasta O'Loughlin, Rip Curl's environmental, social, and governance manager.

"Most surfing wetsuits are made from synthetic rubber, a complex material that isn't accepted in curbside recycling," says Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle. "But through the ‘Recycle Your Wetsuit' recycling program we are providing a new use for this material and offering consumers the opportunity to think twice about what can be repurposed and what truly is garbage."

The Recycle Your Wetsuit program's processes are simple. Surfers can send in or drop off their used wetsuits, booties, gloves, and hoods at the closest Rip Curl distribution center. All wetsuit brands are welcomed. Then they are collected and sent to TerraCycle. The wetsuits are processed by TerraCycle into new raw materials that can be utilized to make the supple rubber matting used on playgrounds. There’s no need to clean the wetsuits before dropping them off for recycling. However, they must be completely dry.

To find out more about the program, visit Rip Curl's website.