Let’s face it. For as much as we love the water, our environment, and a breath of clean fresh air, our toys are pretty gnarly. Heavy with petrochemicals, CO2 intensive, and barely recyclable. Right down to our synthetic, quick drying clothing.
Finally, Patagonia, a company with a rich history of outdoor wear with roots in climbing and surfing, have created a game changer. Their new line of eco friendly wetsuits, are made almost entirely from plant based products and recycled fabrics.
For the last 60 years or so, neoprene wetsuits were fossil fuel based. In fact, neoprene production is nasty and energy intensive. Unfortunately there weren’t any alternatives. At least none that worked nearly as well. Now, Patagonia, has partnered with two eco friendly, sustainable agricultural models in Arizona and Guatemala.
In Arizona, the Guayule plant thrives, requires little water or fertilizer, and produces a non allergenic natural rubber latex. When combined with natural rubber harvested from Guatemalan Hevea trees, it produces a product superior to normal neoprene. They even meet international standards for conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and forest integrity. Furthermore, comparable production decreased CO2 output by as much as 80%. Latest reports state these new wetsuits equal or exceed the performance of neoprene.
Don’t worry. Even though Patagonia’s line of new Yulex suits is expanding from 6, to 21, they’re not being selfish. This new neoprene alternative will be available to any wetsuit manufacturer. Time to wear a suit that does less harm to the environment, cleaner oceans, which makes us happier.