Recycled Carbon Black
Carbon black is a key ingredient in the production of foam rubber for wetsuits. It is a fine powder of virtually pure carbon traditionally created by the partial combustion of hydrocarbons (either coal/oil or organic based). 90% of carbon black produced is used in rubber applications, almost 80% of which goes into car tyres as a colouring pigment and for reinforcement. In wetsuit applications, carbon black constitutes on average between 12–15% of the foam rubber. The lighter and stretchier the neoprene, the lower the percentage of carbon black in the recipe and the greater the volume of gas bubbles in the final product.
Since 2016 we have been using recycled carbon black made from scrap car tyres in our wetsuits and accessories (the carbon black is pyrolized by heating the tyres to a high temperature in a vacuum). Our production partners claim that this significantly reduced energy consumption, cutting the carbon footprint of each wetsuit by 200g.
This switch to recycled material reduced the raw material burden of our manufacturing process. We are currently working with our supply chain partners to introduce recycling of our products at end of life to create carbon black for the tyre industry, taking us one step important step closer to a circular product lifecycle.