Understanding Neoprene, it’s Environmental Impact and Human cost:

Understanding Neoprene, it’s Environmental Impact and Human cost:

Understanding Neoprene, it’s Environmental Impact and Human cost:

In an industry of greenwashing, misinformation and materials hidden under technical naming conventions, let's break it down.

Let’s first look at what Neoprene is:

Neoprene, is a synthetic foam rubber developed in the 1930s by Dupont (American chemicals company) which was sold to Denka (Japanese company) in 2014. It is a prominent material in the production of wetsuits. Neoprene is a brand name for the Polymer Polychloroprene. 

The two primary sources of neoprene production are petroleum-based and mined limestone-based, each presenting distinct environmental challenges.

Petroleum-based Neoprene:
The petroleum-based process involves extracting crude oil, burning it to produce Butadiene gas.

Butadiene is primarily derived from the cracking of crude oil, a process where crude oil is heated to high temperatures to break it down into various components. This cracking process results in the release of Butadiene, a key component mixed with other chemicals to create synthetic rubber chips that form the basis of neoprene.

The use of crude oil in this process raises concerns about carbon emissions and contributes to the overall environmental impact of traditional neoprene production. 

Limestone based Neoprene
Wrongly touted and Greenwashed as the answer to the environmental impact of creating neoprene… it sounds nice to say ‘removing petroleum’ from a production process. In terms of environmental impact it is anything but an answer. 

Mined limestone-based neoprene is derived from a gas formed by burning limestone in a furnace. Both methods contribute to high carbon emissions, habitat disruption, and resource depletion, casting a shadow over the sustainability of neoprene.

Environmental Impact of Neoprene:
The environmental impact of neoprene stems from its production processes, irrespective of whether it is derived from petroleum or mined limestone. Burning crude oil contributes to carbon emissions, adding to the burden of climate change. Additionally, the mining of limestone requires heavy industry and mining equipment, leading to habitat disruption and resource depletion.

One of the more direct consequences of neoprene production is oil spills in oceans. Ironically, the same oil companies responsible for extracting crude oil to create Butadiene gas are the same culprits behind these devastating spills. These spills have severe consequences for marine life and ecosystems, emphasizing the need for a more sustainable alternative in the wetsuit industry.

Human health hazards associated with Neoprene:
The environmental impact of neoprene is not the only cause for concern. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the polymer Polychloroprene (neoprene) as a carcinogen, meaning it has the potential to cause cancer. Factory workers involved in the production of neoprene and local communities surrounding manufacturing plants are at risk of developing cancer as a result of exposure to this harmful substance.

A glaring example is the Denka plant in Louisiana, the only neoprene production facility in the United States. The region has earned the ominous nickname "Cancer Alley" due to its 50% higher cancer rate compared to the rest of the country. This alarming statistic underscores the urgent need for reevaluation and reform within the wetsuit industry to protect both the environment and human health.

As the demand for wetsuits continues to grow, the need for sustainable alternatives becomes more urgent.

Amidst these concerns about the environmental and health impacts of traditional neoprene wetsuits, Snawve emerges as a solution that's both high quality and environmentally conscious.

Snawve is built on a foundation of No Neoprene always as a core value opting for natural rubber, sourced ethically from Rubber trees and incorporating recycled materials. This is mixed with oyster shell powder from food waste, sugar cane, and rapeseed oil to create a sustainable wetsuit material named Bio Foam which competes with the best qualities of neoprene without the human and environmental impact. 

The lining inside and out of Snawve wetsuits is recycled polyester, sourced from waste plastic bottles collected from oceans and landfills. Discarded plastic is transformed into a durable and eco-friendly solution for wetsuit linings as recycled polyester.

Snawve is not just a brand; it's a response to the environmental challenges posed by traditional neoprene. By combining sustainable materials with high-performance design, Snawve emerges as a leader, proving that wetsuits can be eco-friendly, high performing and affordable. 

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