Surfing and watersports in general navigate this complicated line between being powered by nature and the elements, whilst also using gear made out of some generally not very nice materials. Things are changing slowly with improvements in packaging and more eco water based dyes and glues. However the nature of the equipment means there is not too much which can be done.
Wetsuits are slowly moving away from oil based compositions and Soöruz are leading the charge. They were early pioneers of recycled polyester linings and have spent significant amounts of time and resources working on developing more environmentally sound materials - we already wrote about Oysterprene - which they allow other brands to use free of charge.
The Second Life Program is dealing with a different stage of the equation. Whatever the suit is made of, once it comes to the end of its life for whatever reason, we do not want it to end up in landfill. Soöruz have invested in the labour and machinery to shred old wetsuits up and create granules. These are then repurposed as either stuffing for punch bags or outdoor cushions, or made into other products such as rubber tiles for gyms or playgrounds.
This open approach to the whole process avoids any of the mystery which often surrounds recycling. They are doing this themselves in house - not outsourcing and just shipping the stuff to some far flung country.
The video below shows the whole process.