'A plastic free future...'
Can you tell us at Seastainable a bit about your background, how did the idea for The Greater Goods Collective come about?
I have always been interested in reusable products and living sustainability, however in the last couple of years I have increasingly noticed our reliance on single use plastic and how toxic it can be. I was aware of brands providing solutions however I was the only one that know about it because I kept myself updated, so the idea came from being able to provide a solution and a service for the people within my local area. However, after doing a season on a Superyacht in the Mediterranean, I quickly realised that yachting has a large role to play in the demand of plastic usage, hence why my I started to focus on targeting our plastic free product range towards yachts.
With the rise in information and awareness about plastic pollution, its hard to ignore the fact that plastic is fundamentally bad, could you give us a deeper insight into the science behind exactly why that is?
Everyone knows that it is ‘bad’ but no one really know the unbelievable long term affects that plastic can have on our lives. Our direct health along with the health of our environment being under threat from animals suffocating and ingesting plastics makes a good case for saying that plastics are ‘bad’ and that we need to try to start minimising our usage and reliance on it. It's hard to recycle, it lives on forever, it floats, it leaches chemicals, it production uses fossil fuels, its just terrible. Especially for single use, obviously plastic does have its benefits however, but single use is not one of them. If we can avoid the use of the classic single uses such as plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, cutlery and water bottles it would be a great start!
We love that your reusable products can easily be an alternative to single use, but since Covid19 pandemic there has been some concern over reusables, how can yachts use and clean your products onboard to ensure they maintain health and safety?
All of our silicone and metal products are dishwasher safe so you can clean them as you normally would with any other kitchen appliance. Our cotton produce bags can be placed in the washing machine, so again you can clean it similar to what you would for clothes.
In recent news articles, the microplastics problem has been proven to be worse than originally thought, could you shed some light on how microplastics are an increasing issue?
Micro-plastics are considered to be pieces of plastic that are smaller than 5 microns which usually cannot be seen by the naked eye. This means that there are billions of these tiny little bits of plastic making their ways into water ways, oceans, our drinking water, soil and fertilisers. To keep it short, micro-plastics have been proven to leach harmful chemicals such as BPA into their surrounds, whether that be the water column, the food that is grown, the fish that has ingested them or us as humans that have ingested them. When living organisms are exposed to these chemicals, they affect the endocrine systems (hormone systems) in a negative way, by mimicking natural processes and taking over. This can cause havoc on reproductive systems, alter gender mutations and generally interrupt regular functioning and growth of organisms.
We know your passion lies in reducing waste, discarding of waste correctly is a huge problem within yachting, are there any tips you can give yacht crew to manage and also reduce their waste onboard?
Honestly the biggest thing you can do is to just try and reduce your waste from the get go. Ordering and provisioning for the right amount, eliminating single use plastic onboard and trying to reuse as much as you can. Because when you think about It, these tiny, luxurious island that we dock on as super yachts generally don’t have an waste seperation systems in place or even a waste system in place, so as much as you try to recycle, sometimes on these remote islands your efforts aren’t worth it. So the biggest hing you can do is reduce the waste from the start.
A simple start would be taking these 5 steps:
1. Using reusable cotton produce bags (that won’t break on you!).
2. Buying reusable drink bottles for crew and guests to avoid using countless plastic bottles.
3. Take reusable shopping bags to the supermarkets.
4. Buy produce that isn’t contained by a plastic net or plastic bag.
5. Avoid the use of glad wrap with beeswax or our silicone stretch lids as an alternative.
So use your strong influence for good and start provisioning in a more sustainable way.
There is a lot of work to be done in the industry to improve sustainability but we have faith that times are changing. In light of Plastic Free July, what would you suggest yacht crew can do to reduce their plastic consumption and waste?
Having reusable bottles
Reuse shopping bags
Switch to bamboo toothbrushes
Switch to soap bars + soap savers
Eliminate plastic straws with metal, bamboo or glass straws
Eliminate the use of gladly bags with our Silicone Zip Storage Bags
Pick up any rubbish you see floating by because every little bit counts, it sounds cliche but picking that one piece up could have saved an animal from ingesting it!
I know it's hard broaching the ‘eco’ topic with captain and owners, however if you do it with an open mind and offer solutions rather than problems, you will find that most people will be happy to give it a good thought. Because at the end of the day, no one wants to do the environment harm, it's either too hard or lack of education being a cause for inaction.
So if you provide a reason why and a solution, most people will be happy and curious to change their ways.