Designed to drastically reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill due to their wetsuit production, this initiative sees approximately half of their neoprene offcuts recycled by Airstep. This means that we are helping to prevent significant amounts of pre-consumer waste from finding its way into landfill.
We are incredibly pleased to be able to shine the spotlight on this project as it aligns perfectly with our desire to help create a greener future for both people and the planet.
Airstep places a strong focus on ensuring the sustainability of our products.
Our PU underlay products are crafted from 90% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable, making them an incredibly eco-friendly option for the foundation of your flooring.
As a part of our sustainability focus and journey, we have partnered with Rip Curl to help reduce waste and create a greener future. The addition of their wetsuit offcuts to our higher density underlayments assists in further boosting sustainability, without compromising on
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Since the conception of this initiative, we’ve recycled over 133 tons of wetsuit offcuts from Rip Curl.
That’s around 120,655kg or approximately 30 adult hippos from the beginning of this initiative to July 2022.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Airstep. Neoprene is notoriously difficult to recycle due to the nature of the product itself and the lack of suitable other products that neoprene waste can be used in. This project has allowed us to divert our neoprene waste away from landfill into carpet underlay thus lightening the footprint our manufacturing process has on the local environment. The Airstep project has also proved an inspiration to our local factory crew, showing them that there are solutions to not just our specific waste problem but to waste creation in general.”
“As a proud & growing recycler, Airstep is constantly looking to new sources and methods of growing our extensive recycling program, remembering that approximately 90% of our PU foam underlay is created by various recycled materials.
Another extension of this initiative, which already includes post-industrial waste as well as pull-ups & offcuts sourced directly from our customer base, Airstep has also recently entered into partnership with one of Australia’s most iconic brands in Rip Curl.
Rip Curl wetsuits can now be found in Airstep underlay!
We have managed a process of taking in their manufacturing wastage and converting it to an underlay material input. Like much of our other constituent elements in Airstep underlay, without this option, this would likely end up in landfill.
A great outcome for both companies, a great outcome for the wider environment.”
“This partnership with Airstep supports our company goal to divert 100% of waste produced through the assembly of our wetsuits, made in our owned and operated facility. The project protects the community surrounding our factory, by minimising our operational footprint. We are very proud to be working with an Australian company and repurposing our offcuts into carpet underlay.”
“For decades Rip Curl has been seeking to find an environmentally effective waste-disposal solution for the tonnes of “pre-consumer” wetsuit scrap materials that are generated each year.
As a result of the collaboration in recent years between two iconic Australian brands, Ripcurl and Airstep, the technological expertise of the engineers at Airstep has enabled this pre-consumer waste to be used in premium quality Airstep underlay. This development is quite possibly the single biggest technological breakthrough in Ripcurl’s history from an ESG perspective.”
For more than 50 years, Rip Curl has been a market leader in surfing products, in particular innovation around wetsuit design and performance. From the beginning Rip Curl has had one clear vision ‘to be regarded in all that we do as the Ultimate Surfing Company’. Alongside the vision sits one of five core company values: ‘Community and the Environment’ which is embedded into their company policy, crew behaviour, and daily operations. Additionally, giving back to the communities in which they operate and protecting the environment around those communities, has and will remain a key focus for Rip Curl’s success.
The partnership was born when Rip Curl’s previous Fabric Technician and Trims Manager was brainstorming ways to reduce textile waste.
He had the idea that it may be suitable for use in underlay, and reached out to Airstep Australia.
“Royston Barnes [previous Fabric Technician and Trims Manager] from Rip Curl reached out asking us if we could assist them with recycling their neoprene offcuts…
After initial discussions and trials it was determined that we could salt the neoprene into our process with no detriment to the quality or appearance of a product.”
Upon arrival at our Melbourne facility, Rip Curl wetsuit offcuts are sanitised and processed for inclusion in our higher density underlay products.
As of July 2022, we have received nine containers of offcuts from Rip Curl’s facility, which equates to approximately 133 tons of waste that has been upcycled and reused rather than finding its way into landfill.
The program also has strong support from Airstep’s parent company, KPJ Group Australia and CEO Jeff Nicol is quite pleased with the initiative:
“KPJ Group Australia is an Australian manufacturer who takes our environmental responsibilities seriously. We believe in ensuring the products we produce are environmentally safe and that we help our communities recycle materials that would otherwise end up in landfill. Our team are proud to be associated with an iconic brand like Rip Curl and we look forward to developing further initiatives as part of our recycling programs.”
“We’re super stoked to be partnered with an Australian company like Airstep as a way to make good use of our waste from manufacturing our wetsuits.
On one of my first supplier visits, well over a decade ago, I saw the super confronting image of excess neoprene offcuts being piled up, some as big as houses, in open fields next to a lot of finished goods factories. And although we haven’t had that same situation happen in our own manufacturing facility, it is epic to see the partnership with Airstep giving neo offcuts a second life into carpet underlay, and we hope this can help set an example for others to be encouraged to do similar.
At the end of the day, we make Rip Curl products for crew to live their Search, either in the oceans or the mountains, so the more we can do to help keep those parts of the world clean is epic.”
As noted at the top of this page, well over 90% of the materials that are used in the production of our underlay products are recycled. This number is steadily growing as our team discovers ways to improve and expand the process.
The best bit is, when our product reaches the end of its practical life, we accept it back to our base of operations here in Dandenong, Victoria, and re-engineer it into brand new underlay.
If you’d like to learn more about sustainability here at Airstep Australia, please give our friendly customer service team on +613 9794 3888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org