Finisterre to tackle wetsuit recycling in the UK

Now, it’s not everyday I find myself posting about a job, or even considering it. But this is different. Unique.

Finisterre is a brand I’ve been following for a few years, whether through their development of their own wetsuit for cold water surfing, to their technical clothing for pre/post sessions, right through to lifestyle collections. A British brand, designing functional products for hostile, yet beautiful waters surrounding our coastline.

Sustainability is the buzzword for brands and marketers in the outdoor industry at present, from removing PFCs from membrane jackets, to greener ways of producing clothes from down insulation to base layers. The green credentials can no longer be spoken of, evidence and action are required. Finisterre are taking a lead in this innititavet and have achieved becoming Flurocarbon free 

Not content with developing their own cold water wetsuit, Tom Kay, Finisterre’s Founder discovered that 380 tonnes of biodegradable chemical wetsuit waste was being discarded, neoprene being in the big issue. To try and combat this environmental issue, Finisterre have partnered with Exeter University to launch a nationwide search for a full-time wetsuit recycler, with the ultimate goal to make wetsuits from wetsuits. To give this context, the average surfer buys a new wetsuit every 2 years!

Some food for thought

According to the Economic Impact of Domestic Surfing on the United Kingdom report published by Surfers Against Sewage in 2015, there are 500,000 surfers in the United Kingdom alone, and on average, they will replace their wetsuit every two years.

That means every two years, 650 tonnes of neoprene wetsuits are replaced (assuming an average wetsuit weight of 1.53kg) which is the equivalent of 31.6 London double decker buses.

Wetsuit sales are predicted to grow considerably over the next five years as a result of increasing female participation in watersports, increased watersport interest in South East Asia and the mass adoption of various aquatic action sports, as they become more mainstream.

The average cost of a wetsuit in the UK was £216.79 in 2015. The average cost in 2017 (taking inflation into account) is £223.29.

Wetsuits are not biodegradable and the majority use virgin raw materials in their manufacture. Neoprene is produced by free-radical polymerisation of chloroprene.

So if you’d like to find out more about the role or wetsuits, check out the job listing below  or #wetsuitsfromwetsuits

 

Job Details

Fabric of Finisterre

#WetsuitsFromWetsuits

There are more than 500,000 surfers in the United Kingdom who, on average, will replace their wetsuits once every two years. The result of this? The equivalent of more than thirty London double decker buses being discarded every year. Three hundred and eighty tonnes of non-biodegradable chemical-based waste, every single year.

As committed surfers, we all have a stack of old suits laying around somewhere. Whilst there are initiatives that exist around the down-cycling of old wetsuits, yoga mats and beer koozies fall short of producing a real solution.

“There have been some great advances in eco wetsuits and the search for alternatives to petroleum based neoprene, but the real elephant in the room for the watersports industry is what to do with a wetsuit at the end of its functional life. It’s a massive, global problem that we need to address; in this day and age there has to be a solution, and this is what we’re committed to finding. In the UK alone, surfers are replacing their suits on average every two years, with no real idea about what to do with their old suits.” Tom Kay, Finisterre founder.

To address this, Finisterre is recruiting a full-time Wetsuit Recycler. Supported by Exeter University, and with the potential to bring positive change on a massive scale, the position is open to anybody; the ultimate aim being to make wetsuits from wetsuits. 

“This is a genuinely pioneering position and success is not guaranteed. We are looking for somebody with an inquisitive mind who can challenge the status quo, whilst being supported by a leading scientific institution. It’s a very exciting opportunity, bringing together innovation and sustainability, with the aim of addressing a huge environmental problem.”

The Position

Born from a love of the sea, Finisterre – in partnership with Exeter University’s centre of excellence for Materials Reengineering – are offering a full-time job for a Wetsuit Recycler in support of our commitment to innovation and sustainability.

Together, we are looking to recruit a Materials Scientist to support the work of University Professor Oana Ghita, and Finisterre, specifically focussing on the recycling of wetsuits. This is a full-time fixed-term 2 year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with the ultimate goal being to be able ‘to make wetsuits from wetsuits’. It requires a new way of looking at the manufacture of wetsuits and will contribute to a closed loop process, thereby addressing the currently huge environmental issue of what to do with wetsuits at their end of their functional life. 

Working within the Finisterre team and under the guidance of leading materials Professor Oana Ghita, the aim is to develop a fully recycled and recyclable wetsuit, investigating options for materials, manufacturing and recycling processes, carrying out in-depth materials and industry analysis, developing new testing techniques and investigating remanufacturing and circular economy concepts. The post is based in St. Agnes, Cornwall with Finisterre.

This exciting role will shape the future of wetsuit design and the successful applicant will need to be passionate and committed with a willingness to challenge the status quo. The position will give you the chance to develop a wide skill base covering design, manufacturing, product development and its commercial application. It is an exciting opportunity bridging the gap between research and business at the frontline of materials research within the surfing industry, working in a brand that is known for its innovative approach to product design.   

To find out more and apply, visit the University of Exeter’s website, here.  

Job Posting

In partnership with Exeter University’s centre of excellence for Materials Reengineering, and in support of our commitment to innovation and sustainability, we are offering a full-time job for a Wetsuit Recycler.

The position is for a Materials Scientist to support the work of Professor Oana Ghita and Finisterre, specifically focussing on the recycling of wetsuits. This is a full-time, fixed term, 2year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, with the ultimate goal being to be able ‘to make wetsuits from wetsuits’. It will involve a brand-new way of looking at the manufacture of wetsuits and will contribute to a closed loop process, thereby addressing the currently huge environmental issue of what to do with wetsuits at their end of their functional life.  

This exciting role will shape the future of wetsuit design and the successful applicant will need to be passionate and committed with a willingness to challenge the status quo. The position will give you the chance to develop a wide skill base covering design, manufacturing, product development and its commercial application. It is an exciting opportunity bridging the gap between research and business at the frontline of materials research within the surfing industry, working in a brand that is known for its innovative approach to product design.   

Application closing date: 17/08/2017

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