Behind the pouch.

Upcycling neoprene is central to what Mindful Manta does, so I thought it would be good to share how we turn worn wetsuits into new pouches, purses and bags!

Most of our wetsuits are donated from watersport activity centres when they have reached the end of their use surfing, kayaking and windsurfing… 

Wetsuits hanging to dry

As you can imagine, they have been on many adventures in the sea, but neoprene is more durable than you might think. Its thick, protective, and splash proof characteristics are perfect for protecting your belongings. 

Neoprene is incredibly long-lasting, every wetsuit donated has made a positive impact to our environment, as synthetic wetsuit waste in landfill is estimated to take hundreds of years (to an eternity) to decompose! 

Washing wetsuits donated for upcycling / recycling.

Once we have collected the wetsuits and and brought them back to our Sussex workshop, they are thoroughly cleaned, rinsed and hung to dry. 

Next, I inspect the wetsuits quality, separating the neoprene which can be reused, the creases and surface inconsistencies in the neoprene doesn't affect its quality, and these parts we still use, embracing the individuality and memories from the past. There are the usual pressure points with more wear, these are put to one side to be donated for recycling.


Wetsuits cut into neoprene shapes ready for bag/pouch making.


The neoprene is organised according to the usable size to maximise usage, and minimise wastage. 

When ready to be cut and made, we try to use as much material as possible. Small cut-offs can be used for components, keyring clips, zip pulls. Neoprene which doesn’t reach quality standards is heat pressed and used in product development for sample making. 


Heat press printing upcycled neoprene offcuts for swing tags.


Lastly, the pattern is stitched together using certified organic thread to form our pouches and purses.

My favourite part of the process is seeing the final unique product where everything comes together and the hard work pays off. I am so pleased to support you on your adventures, bringing you ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable accessories, bags, pouches and purses.


Sewing machine making neoprene bags in Sussex workshop.