Fact Checked

Can You Recycle Neoprene?

J. Beam
J. Beam

Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber also known as polychloroprene, invented by Dupont™. It's used in wetsuits, work gloves, as electrical insulation, and in a wide variety of other commercial and industrial applications. The rubber is available cured and uncured, and it can be soft or hard. While neoprene is widely used, it can in fact be recycled — a welcomed point of fact in an environmentally conscious society.

Like certain other types of rubber, recycled neoprene is used in a variety of products, from shoes, to golf head covers, to MP3 player and laptop sleeves. It is recycled like other products and many waste management firms offer rubber recycling services to industrial and manufacturing companies.

Neoprene is used to make wetsuits.
Neoprene is used to make wetsuits.

Typically, when neoprene is recycled to create new products, it is blended with other types of synthetic rubbers. The properties of this material, including its durability, insulation properties, and resistance to oil, make it an ideal substance for a number of uses. By blending recycled rubber products into new ones, waste is minimized and costs are lowered as well.

Medical braces are made with neoprene.
Medical braces are made with neoprene.

Some of the more popular uses for neoprene include medical bandages and braces, athletic shoe insoles, work gloves and boots, electronic device protectors, wetsuits, and automotive gaskets and pads. Where apparel and medical supports are concerned, some people may have a skin-sensitive reaction to the material, but its breathable, waterproof properties make it ideal for many medical applications.

Neoprene rubber may be used to make protective gloves.
Neoprene rubber may be used to make protective gloves.

It is also recycled into sheets of rubber and some types of fabric, which are sold by the yard (or meter) just like other fabrics, and can be cut and sewn. Sheets and fabrics are made into different thicknesses and weights for a variety of applications. The number of products made from recycled neoprene and other synthetic rubbers is nearly endless. Besides the more popular uses, consumers can also buy dumbbells and other exercise equipment, as well as wine totes and hats, made from recycled rubber products.

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Discussion Comments


Suga is the only company in the world recycling neoprene.


I mean we just throw it all away -- 1-3 tons daily.


The factory where I work produces raw material. Two sides are cloth and the middle layer is neoprene. We just throw it away -- tons of it. I am looking for ways to recycle it.


@julies -- I would start by calling a recycling center and asking them for advice. We have a recycling company that picks up are recycled material every two weeks. If I have something that I have a question about, I call them for advice on how to recycle it.

If they can't take the product, they can usually tell you who to contact or where you can take an item to have it recycled.


@cday -- I am wondering the same thing. My husband has an old wetsuit that is cracked and ruined. I don't want to just throw this away in the trash, but have no idea how to recycle it. Something like a wetsuit is a lot bigger than a pair of gloves or something smaller that is made of neoprene. I am sure this rubber can be recycled and used again, but how do you go about doing it?


Give them to me! I am into sewing and I would like to do many projects with recycled neoprene. If interested contact me.


how is chloroprene linked together to make polychloroprene?


Where can you buy recycled neoprene sheet goods?


Where can you recycle neoprene? I have about 200 wetsuits that I can no longer use and would like to recycle them.

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    • Neoprene is used to make wetsuits.
      By: Daniel Hohlfeld
      Neoprene is used to make wetsuits.
    • Medical braces are made with neoprene.
      By: soupstock
      Medical braces are made with neoprene.
    • Neoprene rubber may be used to make protective gloves.
      By: aleksandra_1981
      Neoprene rubber may be used to make protective gloves.