PADI is bringing about positive change for our shared blue planet through their partnership with Circular Flow, with the goal of creating a closed-loop neoprene recycling programme to foster a dive economy that aims to reduce the global impact of old and discarded wetsuits within the dive industry.
An estimated 8,380 tons of old wetsuits lie unused every year, with the majority inevitably headed for landfill thanks to the popularity of thermal protection in watersports, coupled with the lack of scalable, sustainable recycling systems for neoprene.
Recognising the opportunity for innovation, PADI, in partnership with Circular Flow, aims to offer the dive industry effective and sustainable solutions to the problem of disposing of wetsuits and other non- biodegradable neoprene products. The goal is to keep them out of landfills and recycle them into useful products such as mask straps and changing mats. To ensure feasibility and determine global scalability, the initiative will begin with a test in the UK.
“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,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “We are constantly looking for new and scalable ways to do so through our Mission Hubs across the planet. We are proud to introduce and test this ground-breaking recycling programme into our community, enabling every diver to recycle neoprene as part of being an Ocean Torchbearer.”
During the initial trial, divers can bring their clean and dry wet suits and other neoprene items to participating UK Dive Centres from August 11 – August 22. 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, after shipping the neoprene to a specialised factory. The patented recycling process eliminates the use of chemicals or water and utilising electricity, pressure and heat.