Friday, July 19, 2024

Fourth Element Is Making Dive Gear From Recycled PPEs


With all the single-use personal protective equipment being used in the past 18 months, the folks at Fourth Element have come up with a way to convert the plastic from those PPEs to make dive gear from them.

Fourth Element has partnered with recycling and repurposing experts Waterhaul to “retask the mask“: turning single-use plastics into the tools divers use in pursuit of underwater adventure. Face masks and other PPEs from hospitals are melted down into blocks, sterilizing the material which Fourth Element then buys, recycles and transforms.

The first products Fourth Element has made via this process are cave line markers. Each marker re-uses the equivalent of two disposable masks.

Fourth Element Line Markers made from recycled PPEs
Fourth Element Line Markers made from recycled PPEs

The end product is completely safe: The PPE is heat-treated by the hospital, with the plastic being heated to high temperatures multiple times.

In the UK alone, 58 million single-use plastic face masks are thrown away every day, littering landfills and polluting the environment. Globally, we’re using 129 billion per month – that’s enough to wrap around the world 550 times! Over the last 12 months, a recorded 1.5 billion have entered the ocean, disrupting our ecosystem and endangering marine life across the globe. And that’s just what has been recorded.

Fourth Element Line Markers made from recycled PPEs
Fourth Element Line Markers made from recycled PPEs

The new line markers are part of Fourth Element’s Zero Waste and Zero Plastic initiatives: to re-purpose as much plastic as possible and find new uses for products at the end of their lives.

According to Jim Standing, co-founder of Fourth Element:

“We believe that this is the way. We are all going to have to tackle the challenges of a post covid world and one of these will be how we deal with the waste we have created as part of keeping ourselves and in particular, our frontline workers protected. We intend to play our part.”

Check out the complete set of line markers at

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.