In 2008, Rip Curl are on a mission to collect your old wetsuits. So don’t throw away those old leaky, cracked piles of neoprene, molding away at the back of your garage. Instead, take your old wetsuit to one of the participating Rip Curl Pro Stores (Biarritz, Anglet, Hossegor, Bordeaux, Merignac, Brest, Paris, Marseille and Chamonix), and those kind folks at Rip Curl will re-cycle it.
Project Resurrection saves old wetsuits and production off-cuts from a gruesome end (burial or incineration), by offering worn neoprene a second life: reincarnation as an espadrille or a pair of slaps.
In 2006 Rip Curl launched a research program into the recycling of neoprene to find some use for old wetsuits and production off-cuts, which constitute about 150 tons of waste per year. The result was “Project Resurrection”, launched in July 2007, which donated usable wetsuits to young surfers in Morocco and recycled the remaining neoprene.
Of the 400 kilos of neoprene that have been collected so far, some has been used as filling for beanbags, whose outer-shells were made out of old Rip Curl event banners. These one-off, designer beanbags will be auctioned off on the Internet during the Rip Curl Pro WQS 6* this summer. The auction will be available on the event website, and all the proceeds will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation.
At the same time, the research initiated in 2006 to find a large-scale recycling program was turning towards footwear, which offered sufficient volumes to absorb the amount of waste generated, as well as using materials that could integrate neoprene. At the beginning of 2007, after numerous attempts at coming up with the right formula, and plenty of resistance testing, a new material was created : “resurrection rubber”, a mixture of chopped neoprene (30%) and rubber. The new must-have item for summer ’08 is the Resurrection Espadrille, made from an organic cotton upper and “resurrection rubber” sole.
A limited series of Resurrection Espadrilles will be sold from the end of June ’08 in Rip Curl Pro Stores, at the Rip Curl Boardmasters in England and the Rip Curl Pro Hossegor in France, at the price of 25 Euros.
This technology was adopted by Rip Curl Asia in 2007, with the goal of using all the neoprene off-cuts in the manufacture of slaps. This re-cycling avoids the treatment of 150 tons of waste, as well as replacing the same amount of raw materials. In the Summer ’09 Collection, there will be a total of 8 models of slaps, representing 10% of the range, which will use “resurrection rubber”.
From the 15th of July to the 15th of December, Rip Curl will be giving away a “Project Resurrection t-shirt”, and a 25 € voucher (valid throughout the store from October 15 to December 15 when you spend more than 100 euros), with the purchase of a new wetsuit.
What better excuse for a spot of shopping?!