In 2022 we developed our Halo X2 material. This superstretch composite is made of neoprene foam with a 100% recycled and polyester lining on the internal face and an external face composed of 76% recycled nylon. The remainder of the fabric lining on the external face is 16% virgin nylon and 8% spandex. The original Halo material only utilised recycled material on the external face, so by using a 100% recycled and recyclable fabric for the internal lining we have more than doubled the recycled content.

Polyester is a quick-drying and lightweight synthetic, which makes it a great choice for use on the internal linings of wetsuits. Recycled polyester, made primarily from post-consumer plastic bottles and known commercially as rPet, offers identical material characteristics but without any reliance on petroleum derived materials and with a greatly reduced carbon footprint. There are two ways to recycled polyester: mechanical recycling and chemical recycling. The mechanical process takes a clear plastic product (such as drinks bottles), then shreds and melts it to create yarn. This process can be repeated several times before the resulting material starts to decline in quality. Chemical recycling is more expensive but can be done infinitely and creates a true circular lifecycle. This process breaks down the component molecules and then reforms the polymer, and can be used to recycle fabrics or coloured polyester.

It takes an average of 45 plastic bottles to create the recycled polyester fabric used in one of our adult wetsuits.

Nylon is an incredibly strong and durable synthetic material, as well as being lightweight and quick drying (similar to polyester). That’s why we use nylon (primarily recycled mixed with a small percentage of virgin nylon) for the exterior fabric on our wetsuits. Recycled nylon has similar benefits to recycled polyester – it diverts waste from landfill (or worse), reduces the use of virgin plastic, and requires less energy to produce. A significant proportion of the nylon that is recycled comes from fishing nets and offers a route to recycling for a product that is often otherwise just discarded. It is estimated that over 45% of the plastic pollution in our ocean is discarded nylon fishing net – ghost gear that keeps on trapping and killing marine life indefinitely. Other sources of nylon for recycling include similarly hard wearing products such as carpets and carpet tiles. Recycling nylon is an expensive process however. The source nylon has to be cleaned thoroughly prior to recycling because nylon melts at a lower temperature than other plastics and the heat required to recycle it does not destroy many contaminants. Like polyester, chemically recycling nylon is also more expensive.  There is a currently a lot of research being done into how to make recycling nylon more energy and financially efficient.