Divers aren’t a vain bunch: We love new gear, but will dive the old stuff even if it is tattered or has holes. However, sooner or later, the “goodbye” to a wetsuit is inevitable. The following five companies make the farewell a little easier and a lot kinder.
1. “Being buried alive would suck” — this is the plea Lava Rubber makes in asking water-lovers to recycle neoprene rather than trash suits that still have a little life left. Send old neoprene to their New Jersey location, where they melt it into custom mats for front doors, boats and dog dishes. lavarubber.com
2. Green Guru Gear, a Boulder Colorado-based company, upcycles bike tires, climbing ropes and, yes, wetsuits — which become laptop cases. Head to greengurugear.com to find participating retailers accepting old gear.
3. Resurf takes donated wetsuits and surfboards to disadvantaged youth organizations around the globe. The nonprofit teaches kids the value of recycling by patching the suits together; a surf lesson follows. resurfproject.com
4. “Africa is very much about reusing materials,” says Sander den Haring, founder of** ReSuit**, a Kenya-based company that gathers old wetsuits from local dive centers, supplying them to disabled trades people in the Bombolulu Workshops. Right now, distribution is extremely limited. Support ReSuit on Facebook.
3. Neocombine, a French company, began in 2010 when surfer Sandrine Muller wanted to make recycling fun. The result? Screen-printed bracelets, luggage tags and more made from used wetsuits. Buy at neocombine.com.