Green Peak Gear’s aspiration is that none of the climbing gear we collect goes to landfill. Where possible we remake items into new products or redistribute the gear for alternative uses. Gear that cannot be reused will be recycled. We are setting up arrangements with companies who recycle nylon (rope), general plastics (harnesses and helmets) and metals. At present the recycling value of what we collect barely covers the cost of collection and transfer to the recycler. In other words reuse is (as a rule) better than recycling from both an environmental and a financial point of view.
For old ropes we are currently exploring higher value fibre to fibre recycling . The quality of the recycled yarn is high and suitable for many other uses.
Climbing shoes cannot currently be collected. However we are working with a company that specialises in rubber consultancy to explore the possibility of reusing the rubber from the soles. This project will take some time to work through.
What is climbing gear made from?
Ropes – dynamic climbing ropes are made from nylon 6 (which can be reprocessed) while static ropes are made from nylon 6.6 (which cannot currently be recycled)
Slings and tapes are typically made from nylon
Helmets are typically made from a range of plastics and often include a small amount of metal
Harnesses are typically made from a range of plastics and metals
Carabiners are typically made from aluminium and steel
Lead rack are typically made from aluminium
As you can see, there are a wide range of materials that go into making climbing gear. Mixed materials are worth much less than a single material – the purer the better – so we will need to deconstruct items like helmets and harnesses to get the most value from them.