Yulex®: A Clean Alternative to Neoprene
As a brand, we live for the sea. We believe that immersing yourself in this aquatic world is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in life. But the chances are you’re probably going to need a wetsuit to do it – especially if you live around colder waters, like in the UK. And unfortunately, that wetsuit will probably be made out of neoprene.
Traditional synthetic neoprene is made using one of the most toxic manufacturing processes out there; formed through the polymerisation of chloroprene in a process that is incredibly damaging to the health of both wildlife and people. As passionate sea-goers, it’s an irony that we’ve always struggled with, but we knew there must be a better way. So, we’re incredibly proud to say that from 2021 our entire wetsuit and new swimwear range will be made using Yulex Pure® natural rubber.
What is Yulex Pure® Natural Rubber?
Yulex® is a natural plant-based rubber that provides a clean alternative to neoprene. The rubber emulsion is sourced from sustainably managed plantations of Havea trees.
This latex emulsion is refined, purified and concentrated using Yulex’s specialised technique. A dry solid rubber is then produced by coagulating the Yulex Pure® emulsion in a process that causes a change to the electrical charge in the rubber particles, forcing them to form soft clumps. The material is then rinsed, milled down and dried, to be processed into bales of Yulex Pure® dry solid. It is this solid rubber that is then used in the manufacturing of wetsuits, replacing the synthetic material.
What are the benefits of Yulex Pure®?
Natural, renewable and traceable, Yulex Pure® has been developed to provide all the technical and performance benefits of traditional neoprene, but eliminates the need for a petrochemical source. Switching the source of the material to a renewable plant based one, rather than a finite fossil fuel resource, not only ensures the long-term sustainability of the supply chain, it drastically reduces the environmental impact of producing the material.
Natural Carbon Sequestration
Because Yulex® comes from trees, the plantations are already sequestering huge amounts of carbon, with around 1,400 kgs of CO2 sequestered per hectare of forest.
10x Less Water Needed
Traditional neoprene requires a lot of water – around 300,000 litres to produce just one metric tonne. By comparison, one tonne of Yulex® can be made with just under 26,000 litres. That’s over 10x less water used.
Reduced Energy Consumption
It can take up to 33,300 kilowatt hours of energy to make one tonne of neoprene. To produce the same amount of Yulex®, only 1,150 kwh would be required.
Cuts Overall Carbon Footprint
There are other benefits too, like the fact that Yulex recycle any waste water in a closed loop system, or the use of renewable energy at their processing facilities. But all of these things add up, and manufacturing a wetsuit with Yulex®, rather than traditional neoprene, can reduce the overall carbon footprint of a suit by an incredible 80%.
As we enter the UN Decade for the Ocean, it’s more important than ever that we stand up for the health of our seas. With our new range of Yulex® wetsuits and swimwear we’ve drastically reduced our reliance on petroleum, cut our carbon footprint and created the most sustainable suit we’ve ever built, without compromising on performance.
We believe that the more people we can help connect with our ocean, the more they will fall in love with it. And people protect what they love.