Friday, 14 March 2014

What to do with old swimming caps

Since the start of the 2013/2014 ocean swimming season, around 20,000 swimming caps have been handed out to competitors at the various ocean swims in NSW. If you are a regular ocean swimmer, it doesn’t take too long before you have more caps than you know what to do with. Some may be used again in the pool, and some given to friends and family, but the vast majority of these caps will end up in land-fill having spent most of the season at the bottom of your swimming bag.

This year at the 2014 Coogee Island Challenge, we are running a swimming cap “amnesty”. Bring down your old caps that you no longer use, or donate after your swim, and we will save your caps from an ignominious end in land-fill or as rubbish scattered on the beach. There are no companies that recycle swimming caps, mostly made of latex or silicone, so the collected caps will be donated to the following organisations for re-use (which is better than recycling anyway):
  • The Frugal Forest is a One Off Makery project, supported by Midwaste, the Australia Council for the Arts and Glasshouse Port Macquarie. Drawing in artists, musicians, scientists, community, business and industry, we aim to build an intricately detailed forest entirely from salvage. Why? Because nothing is wasted in the forest, and we could really learn from that.
  • Reverse Garbage is Australia’s largest creative reuse centre, committed to diverting resources from landfill – approximately 35,000 cubic metres or 100 football fields’ worth per year. Almost 40 years from its founding, Reverse Garbage is now an internationally recognised, award-winning environmental co-operative committed to promoting sustainability through the reuse of resources, as well as providing support to other community, creative and educational organisations. 
  • Various Council Pools to be used by those needing a cap on the day.
Where: Coogee Island Challenge Ocean Swim, Coogee Beach
Where, specifically: The marquee.
When: 13 April 8.30-11.30am

There seems to be a gap in the market here for an entrepreneurial organic chemist. Swimming caps are usually made from latex or silicone (rubbery materials) which are polymers. Are there any options at all for recycling such materials? From what I read, it's just not economical, but I wonder will that change as the raw starting materials for such products (that is, petroleum) become rarer and so more expensive.


  1. Hi,I am looking for a few used caps. I had eight surgeries on my left shoulder and I will be starting aquatic therapy soon. I would like caps with a strap,but I'll be greatful with anything now.please help me out!I'de just as soon have a used cap than to see it end up in the trash.
    Thanks from the bottom of my heart!
    Earl Godleske

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