Reuse and recycle your swimwear

Surplus kit weighing you down? It's time to give it a second life of swimming

Calum Maclean's "A team" kit bag

To be an outdoor swimmer is to be concerned about the environment. Unfortunately, it is also to be the owner of significant amounts of synthetic rubber (wetsuits), polyester (costumes and trunks), silicone (hats) and polycarbonate (goggle lenses). What’s more, many items may well be languishing in your kit “B team” – or even “C team” – waiting for that call-up that never comes. So, why not have a clear-out? Here are three ways to give surplus kit a second life in the water.

Andy Smith for ALPKIT
  • The Continuum Project

This fantastic initiative by Alpkit enables people to donate their unused kit – swimming or otherwise – to those who need it most. Last year, 1.5 tonnes of outdoor gear was either redistributed to charity partners working in causes from domestic abuse to mental health; used in upcycling; or recycled. None of the donations received were sent to landfill. Visit the website for more information and how to donate. Wetsuits are welcome.

  • Outdoor Swimming Society NEW TO YOU Marketplace

The OSS has relaunched its buy/sell/swap Facebook group as New To You. One swimmers’s trash is another swimmers’s treasure… and one person’s ill fitting wetsuit is anothers’ “fits like a glove”. Use this group to buy, sell and give your swimming-related kit.

  • Recycle swim hats and goggles with Sea & Stream

Send your old and weary swim hats and goggles to outdoor swimming shop Sea & Stream and you will receive 10% discount off your next purchase. Items in good condition are sent to SwimTayka, which provides free swimming lessons to underprivileged children living near waterways, or Cool Bathing, who make swim hats. Those in poor condition will be recycled using specialist providers.