reZHIKle: Zhik’s Wetsuit Recycling Program
We’re proud to launch our new recycling pilot program, reZHIKle. At Zhik, our focus is producing innovative and more eco-friendly garments for sailing and watersports. Our wetsuits are made from high-performance materials and are designed to last the distance, even in the toughest conditions.
However, we can no longer shy away from the damage that traditional neoprene wetsuits from all manufacturers can have on the environment at the end of their life. When your wetsuit reaches the end of its life and needs replacing, or when you need to upgrade to a new model, our new reZHIKle program can give it a second life.
We have partnered with the leader in textile recovery and garment recycling, UPPAREL, to help divert wetsuit products from landfill. With the reZHIKle program, we are inviting people to drop off their used wetsuits and skiff suits of any brand with us. Once collected, the garments will be sorted based on their condition, then, either donated to our partner charities for reuse or responsibly upcycled into useful equipment like soft flooring for gyms and playgrounds.
After the success of our pilot program at SailGP Christchurch, we are looking for more opportunities to roll out the program around the world. We aim to give all sailors the opportunity to recycle their old wetsuits and are actively seeking global event partners, dealers and organisations to host our reZHIKle points.
"We’re really excited to announce that our technical partner, Zhik is launching a new initiative called, ‘reZHIKle.’ Our old wetsuits will get to live another life, ultimately reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill."
Blair Tuke, Co-CEO and wing trimmer, New Zealand SailGP Team
Case Study: Pilot Program at SailGP Christchurch 2023
In March 2023, we invited all attendees of the ITM New Zealand SailGP event in Christchurch to dig through their kit bags and bring any old wetsuits to one of our Zhik booths for recycling.
To reward people who made the effort to bring their old gear, we offered each person who dropped off a wetsuit a voucher that they could use towards their next Zhik wetsuit purchase. Importantly, we did not promote this reward extensively to ensure we only captured the interest of those that cared about the cause.
This was a soft launch that we did not promote extensively — but we were still extremely pleased with the results. Overall, we collected over 30 garments and diverted them from being sent to landfill. These garments are now set for processing with UPPAREL, where they will either be donated to charity or upcycled.
We considered this result a huge success and found that the program was received enthusiastically by the community. It has given us the confidence we need to push ahead with this initiative and seek out more opportunities to deploy reZHIKle collection points at more events. Keep an eye out for our booth at future events.
THE RECYCLING PROCESS
How reZHIKle Wetsuit Recycling Diverts Waste from Landfill
It is one of Zhik’s long-term environmental sustainability goals to achieve circularity within our product’s lifespan. We want full transparency over the environmental impact of our wetsuits: from material sourcing to production, to use by our customers, and then end of life.
To help close the loop on our wetsuit’s lifespans, Zhik is working with UPPAREL — Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted and rewarded textile recovery and recycling organisation. UPPAREL gives textiles a new life, provides quality clothes to Australian charities, and drives innovative product development. Their philosophy is to reuse where possible and only upcycle when necessary — ensuring that the fewest possible resources are wasted.
Wetsuits will be collected at the reZHIKle booths and then sent to UPPAREL for processing.
The garments will make their way to UPPAREL where the items are sorted to decide if they can be reused, repurposed or recycled
If the wetsuits are in suitable condition, they will be donated through partner charities for someone else to love or sent to an upcycling partner to turn them into something new.
If the wetsuits are damaged, they will be processed and shredded to create gym flooring, outdoor playground equipment flooring and rubber protective mats.
To find out more visit - https://upparel.com.au/
Frequently Asked Questions about reZHIKle
We are currently looking to partner with major events to roll out reZHIKle colection points. No wetsuits will be accepted at any other locations except those where we specify ahead of time. To be the first to hear about upcoming reZHIKle collections, subscribe to the Zhik newsletter.
The reZHIKle program will accept any wetsuit or sailing skiff suit from any brand.
No the reZHIKle program will accept any brand of wetsuit or sailing skiff suit.
No, it will not cost you anything to recycle you old wetsuit. This is an environmental initiative that we care about, so we bare the cost of the program.
Your wetsuits will be packaged up and sent to UPPAREL for processing and sorting. They are Australia and New Zealand’s most trusted and rewarded textile recovery and recycling organisation.
Our recycling partner UPPAREL processes the items we received through the reZHIKle program. They assess each item to determine if they can be reused and donated to a charity partner, or if they are better suited to recycling. If recycled, the materials are broken down and turned into new products like exercise mats for gyms and soft playground flooring.
The unique discount can be redeemed via Zhik.com OR through the below Zhik dealers in New Zealand:
- NZ Sailing – Auckland
- Sailors Supplies – Auckland
- Harken Fosters – Auckland
- Oborns Nautical - Christchurch
- Barton Marine – Wellington
- Sail One – Auckland