British canoe manufacturer Hou Canoe’s has become one of the first canoe manufactures in the country to ditch plastic packaging as standard for its canoes, a move that will see them save an estimated 3 tonnes of single use plastic over the next year alone.
We caught up with Justin Snell, founder of Hou Canoes to find out why a change in mindset with paddlers encouraged him to take the decision to remove the packaging.
“We were hearing regularly from our customers that they didn’t want the problems associated with plastic packaging, for example disposal and unpacking, as well as the environmental issues.
“It just seemed that there had been a change in mindset. We spend a lot of time with our customers and it was easy to see this change gaining strength.” says Justin.
Justin also says that he didn’t predict the response he would get when he made the announcement, and it has been more popular than he thought.
“When we made the announcement we got a massive response, we couldn’t believe it, it has been one of our biggest ever reaches on social media and that tells you that people like it.
“Also we got many emails from people thanking us for doing what we have done.”
Although Hou Canoes has had many firsts and new initiatives, the decision to ditch plastic has been one of their most successful.
“We have had many firsts here at Hou Canoes but this for sure feels the best one, not only are we pushing boundaries but we are helping the planet at the same time.
“That feels good and puts a good vibe around everyone who is involved, not just in house but our customers too.” says Justin.
He believes that there is room for more, and although 3 tonnes is a significant amount of plastic, if other brands were to follow in their footsteps the impact could be huge.
“I guess other brands will follow to some extent, and that's good; whilst we will remove over 3 tonnes of plastic bagging per year imagine what we could do if every brand followed this?
“As an industry if we all got rid of bagging that would be a huge step. I think as and industry we are fairly environmental strong, it's an awareness we have as paddlers in the environment. However we should always be looking for more ways to help the planet.”
As well as the industry on the front line reducing plastic packaging, there are lots of other ways paddlers can get involved and make a positive impact on the environment, as Justin explains;
“Paddlers can help too with things like litter picks; one big way that we can help the planet is to cut our traveling emissions. Whilst we normally have to travel to go paddling it is important that we ‘car share’ as much as possible, I think this is the best way in which paddlers can cut the carbon emissions we all produce.
By everyone making a small change, together we can make a big change.– Justin Snell, Founder of Hou Canoes
“At the end of the day, if we don’t try and help the planet then long term we simply won’t have a planet to go paddling on, it's as simple as that.
“I am sure that all of us paddlers who have enjoyed our time on the water would wish that future generations can do the same. This is why it's important that the industry and the paddlers do all we can to help the environment.”