Fashion Solution by: Patagonia and Yulex
Sustainable Wetsuit made from Biorubber Patagonia and Yulex have developed a wetsuit in which 60% of the neoprene is substituted with biorubber made from the guayule plant.
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SOCIAL Over 30 million people in the USA are allergic to latex. Yulex’s biorubber is a latex alternative that can improve the quality of life for these latex allergy sufferers. 2
THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
ENVIRONMENTAL Yulex’s zero-waste integrated biorefinery makes use of every part of the guayule shrub for cogeneration plants, biofertilizers, and to create particle board for the construction industry.
The most environmentally harmful aspect of a wetsuit is neoprene, a synthetic, petroleum- or limestone-based material with a highly negative environmental manufacturing process. In the search of a substitute for neoprene, Patagonia partnered with Yulex. The outcome is a wetsuit made of 60% plant-based biorubber sourced from the guayule plant and 40% neoprene. Compared to traditional neoprene, guayule rubber is a renewable resource that also provides improved elasticity and softness. Patagonia wants to eliminate the use of neoprene in wetsuits, so the company has made the proprietary biorubber available to the rest of the surf industry, with the hope that demand for sustainable wetsuits will increase among the approximately 35 million surfers around the world.1 WHY A SUSTAINIA100 SOLUTION? The biorubber from the guayule plant is a sustainable alternative to neoprene because of the small amounts of water and chemicals needed for growing it in the deserts of southwestern USA. The hearty desert shrub is also harvested in a way that allows the plant roots to stay in the ground for an average of four years, reducing the amount of degraded land.
ECONOMIC Annual sales from surfer wetsuits are approximately $119.4 million, which offers a huge financial opportunity for Yulex’s wetsuit. 3
60% of the neoprene in the Yulex wetsuit is substituted with biorubber from the guayule plant.
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The Economist. “Beach rush.” The Economist. Apr, 2015. www.economist.com 2
American Latex Allergy Association. “Allergy Fact Sheet.” Online: www.latexallergyresources.org
Statistic Brain Research Institute. “Surfing Statistics.” Feb 2014. Online: www.statisticbrain.com
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