US outdoor clothing brand Patagonia has taken a big step ahead by replacing petroleum-based synthetics with agricultural-based bio-materials to make wet-suits. At present surfers can purchase greener versions of neoprene, though none of them can be called a pure green product.
In order to change the scenario, Patagonia has announced a potential method for the first time in the world to produce wetsuits out of a plant-based alternative to neoprene.
According to Patagonia’s surf director Jason McCaffrey, the most environmentally harmful part of the product in making wetsuits was neoprene. Their initial approach was to use innovative materials, like wool, that are highly insulating and allowed them to use very little neoprene possible.
Then they realized that they had to create a new material to replace neoprene. After long four years of struggle, they joined hands with clean technology company Yulex Corporation and have developed a unique material that allows them to make a wetsuit that is 60% plant based.
They are still working to produce a 100% plant based material. This guayule-based wetsuit will be the first alternative to traditional fossil-based Neoprene.
Guayule used in wetsuits is a renewable and non-food crop that requires very little water and is grown domestically in the US. It uses no pesticides, and when compared to traditional neoprene, it has a very clean manufacturing process.
The wetsuits are expected to launch in Japan during the spring season. You can order it from Patagonia.