Neoprene Safer Alternatives

Safer Alternatives to Neoprene (For Everyone)

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I’m often on the go for work, which means I’m throwing my laptop into my work bag. I never thought out what my laptop bag was made of or worried about it being made of neoprene but maybe I should have done some research.

What Is Neoprene Made Of?

Neoprene is a black stretchy material which is petroleum based, versatile, synthetic rubber. It is produced using the chemical Chloroprene to form a carbon and hydrogen based chain polymer.

It was originally created by DuPont back in 1931 when the price of natural rubber was becoming too expensive. It is now found in lots of things we buy and use every day.

Is Neoprene Safe?

What it is made from and how it is made is what makes neoprene a concern. But it is it’s allergy producing potential that is most concerning.

My friends at EWG named neoprene the allergen of the year back in 2009. Neoprene can even be an allergen for some people, according to an older Press Release from the The American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS). On top of this, it contains some chemicals, both in itself, and also for packaging (talc powder) which can also cause problems.

Surfers & Neoprene – What’s The Alternative?

For years surfers have been concerned about neoprene being used to make their wetsuits. Luckily, back in 2016, Patagonia came out with a new, environmentally-friendly solution, revolutionizing the wetsuit.

Other companies, like Seea have followed suit and used environmentallly focused materials from Yulex to make wetsuits that still function the same but are not a lot safer for surfers.

Yulex uses sustainable tree harvesting to get their Latex, as well as a patented procedure to remove proteins that typically cause allergies. So, they have not only replaced Neoprene with something natural, but solved the good ol’ Latex allergy problem too! And on top of that, the farmers that produce the latex (from the Harvea trees) are committed to sustainable forest management through the Rainforest Alliance. So, you know you are doing something good for the world too.

Here are some of their products. Not only Neoprene-free, but they look great too!

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Neoprene & Laptop Cases

Now, surfer’s use Neoprene and have done for years, but it’s also starting to appear in our lives in places like Laptop sleeves. Because it’s super-flexible, durable and easy to manufacture, that is no surprise to me.

That is why I was on the lookout for a Laptop sleeve that is also neoprene-free, and I’m glad to be more aware and have new laptop sleeve which is a greener alternative! The people at GreenSmart worked long and hard to find a safer, healthier alternative for people and the environment and the result is called Neogreen!

  • All water based adhesives
  • No Chlorine
  • PVC & Lead Free
  • No Formaldehyde
  • No VOCs (which means no neoprene stink!)
  • 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)
GreenSmart Komodo Sleeve, Mac 17 Inch
  • Made from 100 percent water-based non-toxic waterproof neogreene
  • Fuzzy Liner made from 100% recycled plastic bottles

If neoprene worries you or perhaps you’re concerned about the impact neoprene has on the environment, this is a great alternative. It’s good to just be more aware and when possible choose alternatives that are safer for the environment and everyone.

This article was originally published in 2009 and has been updated.

5 thoughts on “Safer Alternatives to Neoprene (For Everyone)”

  1. Thanks for this. I keep seeing those Built NY brand baby bibs and lunch totes on “green” websites. They look like they’re made of neoprene, so I’ve always wondered if they’re healthy or not. I guess they’re just popular because of the re-use factor?
    .-= Kasey´s last blog ..To Meat Or Not To Meat =-.

  2. I have one of these sleeves and I love it! I also have a purse from them (made from recycled plastic bottles) that I have had for over a year, use every day, and it still looks brand new! I really like this company and the products that they make.
    .-= Lena´s last blog ..My first TerraCycle Brigade Shipment =-.

  3. Wow, just like I thought. I actually just bought a Pregnancy Belly Band that is made out of this stuff and I noticed how it smelled and figured that couldn’t be good so I was just researching the material and found your site. We live a greener lifestyle and really try to steer clear of things like this. I’m actually really appalled that they would make a band that we as pregnant mothers are wearing all day everyday right up against our skin and some wear them from the beginning of pregnancy to the end. It puts off such a smell that I can smell it through my clothes! Can’t be good for a developing unborn baby. I’m so disappointed because it was providing such wonderful support for my umbilical hernia which has been very painful in this pregnancy. 🙁

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