How can I reuse or recycle wetsuits?

WetsuitLike the post I did about joysticks, I’m not sure whether this one was actually a suggestion or another spam message.

I got an email from one Bradley Boericke with the subject “wetsuit” but without any explanation text (or text at all) in the message itself.

But whether it’s a genuine question or a really, really obscure way to sell me penis enlargement pills, it’s a good question: how can they be re-used or recycled?

I suspect, like swimsuits, they have a tendency to degrade at key pressure spots and in order to keep those key pressure spots covered up (since they’re usually the bits that people like to have covered up), you have to replace the whole suit even though the vast majority of it is still in a good condition.

So ideas? And also any suggestions for lengthening their lifespan?

(Photo by simmo333)

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22 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle wetsuits?”


  1. Karlie says:

    Neoprene is used for a lot of fun things like a clank-less tote for your beer. So start cutting and sewing for some really unique and possibly useful objects.

  2. Alice says:

    I have a case for my mobile phone which is made from neoprene. I’ve had it (and the phone) for about 6 years now and it’s still going strong!

    Most impressive thing about it – apart from how smart it looks – is that the whole thing bounces when I drop it. I’ve dropped it quite a few times in 6 years, too.

    The design I have is excellent but hard to describe, and I can’t find a photo to post here. A design like this would be fairly simple to make though http://www.continentalstar.co.uk/images/pt_263.jpeg

  3. Alice says:

    BTW what is a “clank-less tote”???

    Also I am looking for material to make decent insoles with – does anyone know if neoprene would retain any “bounce” when crushed under heels for a long time? Would it just go flat?

  4. Gaiters! I think that’s what you call them in the US – things that cover the lower part of your legs so water doesn’t get in through the top of your boots in the woods. Here in NZ hunters make theirs out of neoprene (rather than the more traditional canvas) as it doesn’t ‘rustle’ as you walk and warn the game of your presence.

    Also, I have neoprene orthotic inserts in my shoes and they last a couple of years before they get too crushed to help.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Neoprene has all kinds of uses in the motorcycling world, given its resistance to wind and water. I have a baclava made from it that could very easily be made from the leg of a wetsuit. I’d never make it through the winter without it.

    Aside from all the clothing related possibilities, I’ve seen a lot of bike luggage made of neoprene, or at least with a neoprene layer covering the parts that touch the bike as it tends to be pretty paint friendly.

  6. Jonathan says:

    Not a suggestion re. wetsuits but a more specific question: a mouse selfishly nibbled a hole in the armpit seam of my brand new wetsuit. How do I go about mending it?

    • Mick says:

      get some patch kit from local dive shop and cut piece to put in the hole or find an old wet suit and cut a piece to put over it…

  7. Petya says:

    I saw a fantastic design for a DIY laptop bag at instructables.com.
    It only uses neoprene for shock absorbtion but it’s still a good idea.

    Here is the address
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Laptop-bag/

  8. Peter Callaway says:

    I currently have a project and have been looking for 1 – 2mm neoprene, can anyone help

  9. daku says:

    You might consider making an .mp3 player cover or even a workout armband for your player.
    Other ideas:
    1. I’ve seen ski masks made of neoprene.
    2. Perhaps a wallet?
    3. it is a great material to make strap reinforcements out of for bags that can get a bit heavy.

  10. nick upton says:

    Patches for bicycle tyre repairs?

  11. Wouter says:

    I’ve used an old wetsuit to create a custom sleeve for my macbook:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wnicolai/2605647334/in/set-72157605774871670/

    This sleeve is made from an almost 20 years old wetsuit, which had 2 parts: a jacket and pants. I’ve used the pants for this sleeve, the jacket is used for a 15″ laptop ( no pictures available).
    Still using the sleeves everyday!

  12. Adrian says:

    Camera protection or lens protection

  13. Matt says:

    Camelbak Hose Insulation:

    -Often when I use my Camelbak outside in hot weather the water that sits in the tube rather then the bladder heats up easily and makes for a warm first gulp or two. You can buy insulating sleeves for the tubes to prevent water in tube from heating up but I figure you can make your own from an old wetsuit for less. Might be better to use material from 2 or 3mm suits.

    Anyone tried this?

  14. LC says:

    I have a few ideas…
    I think old wetsuits would make great covers for outdoor furniture pillows. Most of them usually only last a year with the cotton fabric. These would last a lot longer.
    Liner for a trunk/truck bed/tool box
    Bathroom Rug
    Attach suction cups and make a bath tub mat

    For the ladies:
    Make up case/brush case
    Oneill used to make these sweet bathing suits that were vintage styled and made of 1 mill neoprene. You could slice up your old wetsuit and turn it into a new bathing suit!
    Beach bag/purse

  15. Quinn says:

    If you’ve got a used wetsuit that’s still functional, we have an organization that will put it in the hands of someone in need who can use it…check us out!

    • arty Jahnke says:

      I have three wet suits from the 70′s. they have been in a trunk for the past 20 yrs and either need to find a new home or go in the garbage. I am located in Illinois USA.

  16. Peter says:

    I am looking for 2mm offcuts of neoprene (wetsuit fabric) in UK anyone help?

    peter@pcallaway.freeserve.co.uk

  17. Holly says:

    My dad always saved an old one or 2 to patch holes in our newer suits also u can make fin covers for your surfboards to protect younger surfers and fin keepers for swim fins. Scraps make great dive bags 2.

  18. Vitor says:

    I made protective cover for my kindle.
    works great



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