Wetsuits have been helping surfers, divers, and swimmers stay warm in cold waters since the 1950s. These suits help wearers avoid hypothermia by trapping a layer of water between the suit and the wearer’s skin. The trapped water is kept warm by the wearer’s body heat.
While the official inventor of the wetsuit design may still be debated, one thing is for sure: The first wetsuits were made of neoprene, a material derived from petroleum. Wetsuits have evolved over the years, but many are still made from petroleum-based neoprene and are often black in color. Aside from the unsustainable material, these stretchy suits can be challenging to recycle once they are torn or have outlived their lifecycle.