What Is Neoprene and What Is The Alternative?
Written by Joel
I never really knew, but I suppose I could have guessed that Neoprene, that black stretchy material that goes into wetsuits, laptop sleeves, water bottle covers is full of toxic nastiness, particularly the solvents used to glue it to other materials. That “Neoprene smell?” is actually off-gassing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Formaldehyde, lead, chloring and toluene are frequently in there and many people are sensitive to these chemicals, so it’s not uncommon for people using wetsuits to have a skin reaction to the material.
A company called GreenSmart were determined to find a cleaner, greener alternative. Neogreene is a result of a long, careful collaboration with GreenSmart’s supplier, and is a vast improvement:
- All water based adhesives
- No Chlorine
- PVC & Lead Free
- No Formaldehyde
- No VOCs
- 25% less petroleum than neoprene
- 25% less energy (compared to producing neoprene)
- Even the green coloring of the Neogreene is a water based dye (neoprene cannot be dyed)
The first products to include Neogreene are laptop sleeves and water bottle totes/holsters. The first thing you notice is something missing: No cardboard packaging framing the sleeves for store display. Just a small fabric loop at top for it to hang in stores, with a paper tag telling you about it, itself recycled and recyclable.
They realize there’s more to go to eliminate all non renewable resources, using all recycled material, and they’re committed to continuing towards that goal. Meanwhile they have a product who makers don’t have to use masks while manufacturing it, and is safer to us, while apparently being at a competitive price to the typical options out there.