Nobody wants to be throwing away paddling kit, no matter its age or level of use. Especially in the current climate, the cost of new kit is something that most could do without. We are also becoming more conscious of our waste, what we put in landfill, and the sustainability of what we buy. With all this in mind, here are a few ways you can look to reuse, repair, and recycle your kit.
If you are looking to reuse your kit for paddling then it will need to be in good and safe condition. How you reuse kit will depend on why you have stopped using it. If you have simply outgrown the kit, then you can look to pass it onto the next person. However, if the kit is old and unsafe for use on the water, then look for fresh ideas with the kit. You might turn an old helmet into a plant pot. A tired PFD might be used as part of a halloween costume. Or a leaky cag could find a new life as a spray jacket for flat water paddling in drier conditions. The possibilities are endless, just make sure any kit heading back out on the water is still safe to do so.
Lots of kit is repairable. It might not be up to the same level of use as before, but it can be repaired and used again. A lot of manufacturers will have a repairs service in place, offering top level repairs to their kit. There are also a number of people who have built businesses around repairing kit too. Finally, at home repairs are also an option. Using tent repair kits, patches from old kit, and trusty glue can all add a few more adventures to your kit’s lifespan.
Recycling your kit is where it gets tricky. To the best of our knowledge, there isn’t anyone who has been able to recycle the fabrics and materials used in paddling kit. The main issue is the bacteria introduced to the materials when used, rendering it not recyclable. Repairing and reusing your kit for as long as possible is the way forward. Getting everything you can from it, and doing all you can with it before it has to be thrown away.
Making paddle sports more sustainable is everyone’s goal. And making your kit last longer is just one way of achieving this. For more ideas on how to protect the environment while enjoying paddling, check out more of our environmental articles and The Paddlers Code