ERJ staff report (DS)
Ventura, Cailfornia - US based wet suit manufacturer Patagonia Inc., is starting to use guayule-based natural rubber in its wetsuits as a partial replacement for chloroprene rubber.
Jason McCaffrey, Patagonia's surf director said, "After four years of working together, Patagonia and Yulex have co-developed a unique material that allows us to make a wetsuit that is 60% guayule (plant) based. Our goal is to have the formula be 100% plant based, but we feel that for now this new material is a big enough step forward to let the world know it is possible to buy something cleaner.â€
He continued, "When we started to build wetsuits we knew that neoprene, by nature of its production, was the most environmentally harmful part the product.â€
Yulex's biorubber material is made from guayule, a renewable, non-food crop that requires very little water, is grown domestically in the US, uses no pesticides, and in comparison to traditional neoprene, has a very clean manufacturing process.
Initially, the new suits will be available in Japan only. In Spring 2013, surfers will be able to order custom suits out of Patagonia's wetsuit facility in Ventura, CA, with a global rollout to follow.
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Press release from Yulex