At the time of writing this article, 88% of the ocean’s surface is polluted by plastic waste. Plastic packaging is the biggest offender, comprising 80 million tonnes of waste each year in the United States alone. This amount has increased 200-fold since the 1950s!
Most of us would have seen the tragic photos of sea life trapped in abandoned plastic fishing nets or feeding from inexhaustible piles of landfill. In 2019, researchers from the University of Newcastle found micro-plastics in the stomachs of sea creatures living in some of the deepest parts of the ocean. These creatures were found in six ocean trenches from Japan to Peru at depths of up to 10,000 meters. This research tells us that our global plastic problem has now permeated even the farthest reaches of our world’s marine environments.
While we know it’s difficult to think about environmental disaster in the midst of a global pandemic, beginning to address these issues now is the best way to avoid (another) global crisis in the not too distant future. In fact, the loss of life and economic upheaval caused by an environmental crisis could be more devastating than coronavirus.
What can we do about it?
The good news is that there are things we can start doing now to address this important issue.
There are three main ways we can start to minimise plastic waste in our environment 1) by producing less plastic; 2) by consuming less plastic; and 3) getting better managing the waste that already exists to prevent it being inappropriately dumped.
At Honu, our approach to minimising plastic waste is to try to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging and to ensure the products we have that do use plastic are made to be as long-lasting as possible.
Reduce Plastic Packaging
We have worked with our manufacturing partners to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that is used for our products. This includes using paddle carry bags instead of bubble wrap and muslin wrapping for all our boards. All of our T-shirts are packaged in biodegradable packaging, which are made from all-natural plant materials. The advantage of biodegradable plastics is that no carbon is produced in the manufacturing process and they are more easily broken down by naturally occurring bacteria when disposed of appropriately. We are always looking at methods for increasing green materials in the production of our boards, and we will continue to improve where we can.
Consuming Less Plastic in Manufacturing
Throughout the product development process, we were looking for ways to extend the life of our products and make them more durable. While we achieved this through a combination of advanced materials and construction, we thought we could do more. That's when we came up with our 2+2 warranty. This includes a 2 year warranty covering manufacturing defects (much like other high-quality paddle board companies) and 4 years of free repair.
That is, free repair of any damage caused by any means. No questions asked.
Any damaged boards can be sent back to Honu and a repair will be completed within 10 days of receipt. Simple. This is the most extensive guarantee in the business.
We provide this guarantee because having products that are long-lasting and durable is a core part of our mission to reduce environmental impact. The longer our gear can last, the less waste we produce for our environment.
In summary, we will continue working on these initiatives to reduce our plastic consumption and environmental impact. We always love hearing from our Honu community with any ideas to help us along this important journey.