When Weezle Diving (www.weezle.co.uk) launched their first product in 1998 it was green. Literally. A bright emerald one-piece ‘Extreme’ undersuit. What was equally innovative was the packaging the Weezle Extreme came in. It was green too. This time, environmentally green. The Extreme undersuit was packed in a lightweight durable material sack, that could be compressed to save on space.
The fact that Weezle set out to be as environmentally friendly as possible from day one was no happy accident. In LBW (life before Weezle), Paul Child – Weezle’s co-founder – worked in the packaging industry, and as such was exposed to some interesting ideas that influenced his ecological thinking.
The compression sack set a trend and Weezle introduced draw-string fabric bags for their long boots and unbleached cotton duffle bags for bigger products. They switched out plastic barbs and replaced them with small metal safety pins to secure cardboard product tags to their Russian Hats and base layers. “Although this solution is more labour intensive, we knew it was the right thing to do”, stated Paul Child.
Weezle also “did the right thing” when it came to sourcing the insulating material for their undersuits. “Thanks to the likes of the Women’s Institute and their plastic soup campaign the public are now learning about the environmental impact of microplastic fibres” stated Paul Child. “Our man-made filling has longevity and unlike Fleece this hydrophobic material does not break down into microfibres. It can also be successfully washed in cold water.”
All these small steps have helped Weezle Diving adopt the ‘Green Achiever’ scheme and achieve their aim of being 100% single-use-plastic free. This system works to improve day-to-day company operations. All aspects of the company are holistically evaluated. Typical audit questions include “do you have an environmental policy? Do you know your carbon footprint? Where do your drains go? How do you dispose of plastic, wooden pallets, oil rags and fluorescent light bulbs? Do you take back old and redundant products from your customers? What forms of energy to you use (electricity, gas oil, renewable?) Does your company car fleet use biofuels? Do you source supplies locally?
“We reviewed our ancillary despatch materials because this is one area that everyone routinely overlooks”, stated Paul Child. “This year we have been sourcing packaging that can be composted. Bubble wrap is not an option, the obvious solution is corrugated cardboard. But what about the ‘documents enclosed pouch’? Traditional pouches used by the likes of UPS, Fedex etc are made from plastic and the backing paper that is removed to stick the pouch to the package can’t be always recycled either. After much searching we have sourced a pouch manufactured from oxo-biodegradable polythene. We have also switched out our packing tape for a compostable one that uses a water-based glue and all our cardboard boxes have already been previously used. In addition we have reached and agreement with our suppliers that if they dispatch us something that we cannot reuse or recycle, they have agreed we can return it to them for disposal.
Being awarded this Green Achiever certificate has been a real pat on the back! We have now joined Mission 2020 and will continue to use biodegradable, compostable packing materials, and recycle and reduce our ecological footprint where possible.”
For more information please visit the Weezle Diving website by clicking here.