When it comes to sustainability in the maritime industry, it is a hot topic.

This year has highlighted that the shipping industry, which transports about 90% of global trade – is, statistically, the least environmentally damaging mode of transport.  Shipping has also been a saving grace for commerce when international air travel ceased during the peak of the global pandemic.

It appears the focus has shifted from immediate pollution of the oceans to the shipping industry leading the way in preserving our oceans.  The IMO for example has, over many years, developed and adopted many rules and guidelines to protect the marine environment from any potential negative impact of shipping activities such as marine litter.

At the start of 2020 we took the opportunity to apply for the ISO 14000:2015 Environmental Management standard and during this time we realised we could make immediate changes to our packing process, in order to be more eco-friendly.

We have a long heritage in the maritime industry and want this to continue for generations to come, so making small changes to fight climate change shows our commitment to the longevity of the industry.

How has Solarglide become more environmentally friendly?

Historically our packaging had a very high proportion of plastic, and although it was made from recycled plastic, the product could still end up in landfill if not processed correctly.  Our team made the made a collective decision to ensure all packaging for our marine products is 100% biodegradable.

We already used a lot of recycled/recyclable materials but as we all know, they can still end up in our oceans.  Plastic and polythene can take up to 500 years to decompose and we wanted to ensure that as a supplier, we were doing all we can to protect our oceans.

Sustainable Packaging in the maritime industry

"It's so nice to work for a proactive employer that prioritises the environment over cost"

Our team have been proactive in sourcing environmentally friendly packaging products and so far, we have:

  • We have opted for strong cardboard edge protectors to avoid kinks in our long blinds
  • Replaced plastic polythene branded tape with strong paper branded tape
  • Standard bubble wrap has been replaced with biodegradable bubble wrap
  • Clear plastic bags for components have been replaced with small cardboard boxes and biodegradable plant based bags
  • Plastic sleeving and strapping has been removed completely
  • Plastic ‘document enclosed’ wallets have been replaced with paper document wallets
  • For larger orders we use custom made wooden boxes that can be reused or recycled and are 100% biodegradable
  • To pad out our boxes we have adopted paper pillow rolls filled with air
  • Traditional shrink wrap has been replaced with a plant based shrink wrap made from sustainable sugar cane.

The new packaging will be fully implemented in December 2020 and we are now in the process of looking at the sustainability of our products with aim to replace all non-recyclable parts with a more environmentally friendly alternative.

We are also looking at attaining Cradle to Cradle certification in 2021.  This certification examines each of our products from manufacture through to the end of its lifecycle.

Like our packaging, we want to have peace of mind that our products when they come to the end of their life, can be recycled or even better biodegradable over time.