Plastic-free wetsuit hangers. Made from recycled wetsuits and sustainable FSC wood

Plastic-free wetsuit hangers. Made from recycled wetsuits and sustainable FSC wood

Wetsuit hanger made from recycled wetsuits

I’ve always been looking for a wetsuit hanger that can hold all my surf gear in one place. Also something with a mission to help our environment and find solutions to ocean waste. Ecotribo has been my side project for the last few years and it’s gathering steam- Designing products that ‘Clean our seas and plant positivity’. I’m always looking for ways to tackle and utilise waste streams in the production of my art, design, and recycled products. So far I have been making plant pots from ocean plastics and collaborating with Rideguard to make mudguards from recycled industrial plastics. And now I have launched a wetsuit hanger made from recycled wetsuits and FSC wood and manufactured right here in Bristol.

Comfortably dries a full length mens wetsuit, gloves & booties

Easily hangs from just about anywhere

Proudly made locally in Bristol, United Kingdom

Our oceans demand we do better.
In the United Kingdom alone, around 380 tonnes of old wetsuits end up in landfill every year according to research done by the University of Exeter. Countless more pile up in our sheds, garages and clubhouses. As surfers and ocean lovers, we like to think of ourselves as a pretty eco-friendly bunch. We love the natural world that we play in and ensure we recycle everything we can.

But surfboards and wetsuits are unfortunately responsible for some pretty damaging pollution. PU surfboards are a notoriously harmful mix of chemicals, that damage the environment in the manufacturing process and are near on impossible to recycle. 


Some positive outcomes for our planet.


Fortunately​,​ due to awareness around the problem, we are beginning to see some fantastic new surfboard manufacturing processes. The​re are​ new product​s that​ utilise​ converted locally abundant sugarcane biomass that is polymerized and expanded into the rigid foam​ with links to biotechnologies based in the Netherlands​.​ Whilst Entropyresins make a bio-based surf resin, which is what I use in my #handsupforthesea coat hanger product.


​We​tsuits have similar challenges​,​ as the material​s​ ​are generally made from a variety of ​petroleum-based ​composites.​ Patagonia has made some big strides in finding eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based neoprene. They have a great product made with sustainable natural rubbers called Yulex. It’s still early days in the industry so in the meantime most of our wetsuits are not recycled and end up in a landfill.

Wetsuits are currently made from a number of different composite materials

Wetsuit material ​is ​complex​.​ A single suit can use up to 15 different types of neoprene and/or rubber composites​. When these materials are combined in these ways it makes it hard to separate the materials at the end of their lives. This makes​ wetsuit recycling nearly impossible​ at this point​.​ 

Be the change you want to see

I have been fascinated by sustainability and material design and how it can bring about positive change for several years. With a variety of my design and art projects, I have always tried to utilise waste materials and create a circular economy. I admit it’s not perfect but am on a journey, taking steps towards a very idealistic goal, so please bear with me!

By making and trying new things I hope to raise awareness and find solutions. I hope that by utilising this recycled/upcycled wetsuit material I can make a product that is useful and brings positive outcomes for our environment. The wetsuit hangers straps are made from wetsuits I get from surfer friends and local surf clubs. (Please get in touch if you have any and I would be happy to take them off your hands and ensure they don’t ​end up in land-fill). The hanger body is made from a sustainable FSC wood which is CNC’d locally here in Bristol by a KWMC Factory, a community based digital fabrication factory. The wetsuit straps are then sewn by a local seamstress with an industrial sewing machine providing local people with work.

 
I am so grateful for the positive messages and reviews of the product so far. I hope that by bringing awareness to this issue I can be a small cog in the machine that brings about lasting positive change.​ Please subscribe and join me on the journey.

Finding solutions to plastic waste. Working with Bio Materials

IMG 20190219 133959469 LR 2

There have been some exciting developments at the tribes home base in Bristol, United Kingdom. We have been exploring the many material properties of nature and have found some amazing alternative materials that are good for the planet and can help use waste materials that would usually end up in landfill. We are currently exploring and cooking up many different materials to get a deeper understanding of their properties, the pros and cons and suitability for particular uses. Yesterday I was accepted for an exhibition in Bath where I will be able to showcase some of these experiments as well as some more realised eco-design projects.

Please visit the ‘What we are made of’ exhibition opening night at 44AD artspace: Fri 08 March (6pm8pm). It will be running for a week at 4 Abbey Street Bath BA1 1NN.

It’s still very exploratory but there have been some amazing finds. I have developed a bioplastic and have tried it in a sheet form as well as in a mould. Its made from a mix of Agar, glycerin and water. The material is very similar in property to the plastic we know when dried. This is an exciting development!

We have had some success with a material made from local coffee granules gratefully received from my favourite local cafe and coffee shop called Friska. The coffee granules make a beautiful material when mixed with a concoction of glycerin, agar and alginate. I’m still experimenting with quantities etc to make the perfect mix. It’s super robust when air dried after a few days. although there is quite a lot of shrinkage as it dries.

Bio material made form recycled coffee
Bio material made form recycled coffee

We are still developing the surf product made from recycled plastic waste. It has taken a long time as the CAD modelling has needed more adjustments and the tooling costs are looking very steep! So its been a bit of an uphill struggle finding the best way forward to fund this project. HAving said that I have some ideas up my sleave so am moving forward again with the hope to have a final 3D print ready by the end of March to show potential investors.

If you would like to keep up to date with the latest developments please follow us on Instagram @ecotribolife or sign up for the newsletter! Thanks for ready and for your support!

10 Reasons to use Bee Friendly Rape Seed Oil and where to get the best stuff

Bee friendly

Love bees, nature and healthy living? My partner and I have started to move away from Olive Oils using the local British rapeseed oil for a variety of reasons. Here are 9 good reasons to use Rapeseed Oil over any other oil and where to get the best Rapeseed Oil in Britain helping our bees at the same time!

To be clear we are talking Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, sometimes labelled premium, virgin or extra-virgin which has many health benefits over other traditionally used oils.

1. The oil is celebrated for its health benefits as it has less unhealthy saturated fat than ALL other cooking oils and fats.

2. It is also high in mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats omega 3, 6 and 9.
That’s good for brains and may help you fight against cardiovascular disease.

3. It’s a rich source of vitamin E.

4. Cooking benefits – rapeseed oil can be used at high temperatures so no burning & smoking!

5. It’s great used cold as well, for salad dressings, sauces and marinades.

6. Great flavour that lets the others shine through! Rapeseed Oil has a very light and delicate flavour so you get the best from the flavours of other ingredients in your dishes

7. Baking – rapeseed oil is a great substitute for butter (we haven’t tried this yet but heard its can!

8. Great to cook with, on salads etc.

9. Its made in Britain so it’s supporting local sustainable businesses

10. Ok maxed out and can’t find another reason but here are some fantastic farmers who are supporting bee-friendly practices by not using neonicotinoid seed treatments on their land. Please try to support them as they try to keep a natural balance in farm ecosystems: visit http://www.rapeseedoilguide.com/

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