The majority of anglers, regardless of what you fish for are custodians of the countryside. Many are extremely passionate about it and even take on major efforts in conservation, petitioning against polluters and doing anything they can to maintain their days on the water.
There is one rather large elephant in the room however and having worked in this industry for several years now and seeing inside of how it operates, we are not really setting a good example of ‘being green’ or making the efforts to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible.
Packaging! With so many products on the market packaging has seemingly become more important than ever, after all, your item has to stand out on the shelves. But that box holding the reel in the shop isn’t all that comes with it, the waders that you carry home have a serious trail of paper behind them. Wader packaging really is a sin, your waders come in a plastic wrapper, inside a box, which has another protective box to protect the first box, all of which are shipped inside another box which is usually far too big and then filled with a load of paper fill. Rarely does a customer ever want to take the box holding the waders alone! It wasn’t that long ago that waders just arrived in a net bag, it was great for rolling your waders up and there was no waste!
Rods can often be just as bad a culprit, the metal tube often associated with high end brands usually comes accompanied with plastic wrapping, some are wrapped in plastic and placed inside a cardboard box to protect the metal tube, protecting the protector? The plastic wrapper on a rods handle is one of my biggest hates, I would love to hear the reasoning behind it, is it one of those old traditions that just persists? I could name a few brands that have done away with this wrapper and no customer seems to mind. There is nothing more annoying than parking up at your chosen fishing spot and seeing that rod handle plastic lying on the ground!
Fly tying materials usually come wrapped in plastic packaging, packed inside more plastic packaging, spools of line come with a plastic case and bits of paper falling out which are all packed in a box, wrapped in shrink wrap. Fly lines, I wouldn’t even like to count the amount of fly line boxes I have binned for customers in the shop alone over the years, the plastic spools they are supplied in are sitting in most peoples homes never to be used again. Even spools of braid for spin fishing come with more than necessary packaging, it looks cool but serves no purpose at all.
I understand that items need packaged to an extent, certainly in a world where online shopping is so strong and the item must arrive in tact but surely it can be cut back some degree. There are brands out there trying to keep waste to a minimum but it seems to be the smaller companies that are leading the way, often sending out orders in reused boxes or keeping their product packaging minimal and having a secondary use. Some of the brands that have the biggest clout and the lions share of the industry are the biggest offenders.
You only have to come to one of the fishing exhibitions on set up day and then you will really get a shock at just how wasteful fishing really is! Just a few thoughts, we are certainly quick to point the finger at the other problems in our fishing world, maybe the ‘industry’ needs to lead by example?