Plastic Not So Fantastic... The Problem With Plastic Waste Pollution
July 4, 2018
Here at Psychi it’s our first day back from our ‘Beach Bouldering’ trip to the most westerly peninsular on the British mainland - Ardnamurchan. We’d been eyeing up the spot for a while on account of it’s decent gabbro rock, turquoise waters, and remoteness, and the place did not disappoint. It was a weekend of freak unending sun, idyllic bouldering and coastal scrambling in one of the most untouched coastlines on the Scottish west coast.
What we didn’t expect to see on the other hand was the abundance of washed up plastic from all over the world. Jerry cans from Russia, water bottles from Europe and fishing equipment from all four corners, all dumped by the occasional high tide and wedged into the rocks and crevices. It’s a problem that we are running into more and more on our frequent camping and climbing trips. We always make a point of leaving an area better than we found it by picking up everything we can.
It’s becoming more and more apparent, however, that the real problem here isn’t necessarily lazy people leaving their rubbish behind (although I will admit this happens far too often) but it’s simply the shear amount of plastic humans produce and use. None of this stuff disappears and yet we’ve used and continue to use it as a viable disposable material, for almost everything. We can’t buy six apples without them being wrapped like some sort of ‘how many resources can we waste on one product pass the parcel’. The good news is, there has been a big push in awareness over the last year, with reductions in ‘one use’ plastic items and ocean clean up companies leading the charge against floating plastic islands, and beach cleans.
This has all got us thinking about our own responsibilities as a company. As keen outdoor types we’ve been sat round many campfires angrily discussing the mind of a person that will camp in an area to enjoy its beauty, and then leave a fire pit full of half melted polystyrene and a bag of beer bottles buried in the exposed root system of an oak tree. But if we’re using plastics for our
packaging and fulfilment, and clearly some of that plastic must be ending up in the oceans and wild places, are we really any further above them morally? The obvious, but not always easy way to solve this global epidemic is by reducing the demand for plastic products. Which is why here at Psychi we will be working over the next year to swap any of our plastic packaging to eco friendly brown paper/card alternatives, as well as changing all of our delivery packaging to biodegradable mailing products. But we haven’t stopped there. We are also looking into our international freight and the impact it has on the environment. With much of today’s business being conducted from a computer screen and the world moving towards an online form of retail we have to be conscious of the ecological impact this has. For many of us our main form of shopping is online retail, and before any product arrives with you it has already been well travelled. As one of these online retailers we understand our responsibility to ensure that we have a smallest carbon footprint possible, whether that be shipping products from within the UK or from the far east. Air freight and sea freight are the two main options for shipping products in from overseas suppliers, air freight being the quick option and sea freight taking much longer to arrive. As you can imagine, air freight comes with a hefty carbon footprint which is why we are moving towards a sea freight only import model. Sea freight emits roughly 15g of CO2 per tonne of cargo per km moved , compare that to the 545g of CO2 emitted by air freight over the same weight/distance.
Our international shipping company are also looking into solar assisted cargo ships which will drop these sea freight figures drop even lower. Also, in the interest of transparency, another reason we will be exclusively using sea freight is, simply, it is much cheaper, meaning we can bring products in at a lower price and continue to offer you great value across our range. We hope that these kind of policies will become the norm everywhere sooner rather than later, but we’re excited to start doing our bit to preserve the wild places we all love.