In the recycling business, one of the most common questions we get is whether or not a particular material can be recycled. The answers can be complicated—for example, some facilities recycle certain products that other facilities don’t, and some recyclable materials are valuable while others are not—but we always like to help people get to the bottom of it when it comes to recycling. Neoprene is one of those materials that we get asked about periodically. It is a synthetic rubber material commonly used in wetsuits, work gloves, and electrical insulation, so it’s easy enough to find—but can it be used and reused like metals and other recyclable materials?

What Is Neoprene, Anyway?

Neoprene is actually a family of similar materials, though they may vary slightly in the ways they are manufactured and used. All of them are synthetic and rubber-like.

Neoprene is used because of its water and heat resistance, and because it is both malleable and strong. In addition to wetsuits and protective gear, it’s also used in laptop, tablet, and phone cases, because it can be molded to fit these devices snugly and is strong enough to protect them from damage.

Neoprene also has many applications in the medical field, such as in gloves for doctors, nurses, and surgeons.

Because it is used so often and for such a wide variety of products, recycling it can be great for the environment.