One spring day in April 2018 the Fan Frames team was going about their business while the local radio station provided a mid-morning distraction for us all. So it’s time for a brew (Cup of Tea – Up North) and the usual discussion broke out. The main theme inspired by the non-reusable plastic problem that hit the national headlines, local businesses in the area were debating the use of non-reusable plastics, with straws being enemy number one!
Many local food and drink outlets were switching to paper or just banning them altogether.
Like many of these debates, the doom-mongers were quickly out in force, resisting the change and debating what difference it would really make taking such trivial actions.
That particular morning a real positive vibe was running through our office. So, we decided to do a little research on the damage that they do cause lifting the lid on Pandora's box.
It turns out 9.5 billion plastic straws are discarded into landfill or our oceans every year with each straw on average taking around 200 years to breakdown.
Rather than sit and moan, we were all compelled to do something about it. But didn’t really know how deeply and profoundly It would affect our whole operation.
Our speciality is licensing, design and sourcing eyewear products to market for many of the largest sporting brands in the world.
We decided to ask some of our trusted sourcing contacts in the far east to find a manufacturer of stainless-steel straws and create the brand TURTLE SAVERS to be lasered onto the top of each straw. Our idea was to create a talking point for users and a selfie opportunity on social media for the product to market itself and create a movement while people enjoy a drink.
We were all passionate that any revenue would only be used to rebuy stock and any future profits would be donated to Turtle causes around the world. That’s right none of us would benefit by a single penny. We also put our money where our mouth was and invested £8,000 pounds to set up the products, buy stock, build a website and market the launch successfully.
We felt we had ticked the box and done something positive. BUT we had no idea how it would affect each one of us, our other businesses and brands.
Let me introduce you to the mission it created and hope this inspires you personally or businesses to maybe commit to that mission.
The culture in our office is the number one priority. Once a week we celebrate with the now legendary Fan Frames ‘Hot Food Friday’. A chance for each member to pick their favourite dish and we all join in eating together.
The following week we hit Hull’s famous Trinity Market. On our menu, that day was Tapasya for a delicious Indian lunch. When we’d finished, I reached to place the plastic food tray into the bin and my conscience kicked in hard. Not only that but every piece of food packaging, toiletry package and cheap toy suddenly stood out like a sore thumb.
How had I never realised this before?
Returning to the office we had an outpouring of ideas to change all our products packaged in plastic, even though they are already recyclable we felt compelled to change to safer alternatives. We made the choice to redesign all packaging to remove single-use plastic from any future stock orders.
First on the agenda was Tottenham Hotspur glasses cases.
Once we pushed the first domino, they all started to fall.
To date, we have eliminated all plastic packaging from any product we restock and urge all our customers to recycle product packaging from our current range.
We have also managed to source biodegradable mailing sacks and sticky tape so that even our postage and packaging materials don’t use plastic.
Our products also contain plastic and even though they are for long-term use we are looking into a return and recycle program so that we can be sure we are utilising any opportunity to reduce our plastic waste imprint on the world.
In conclusion that one radio broadcast led us to act by creating a new brand and product as well as change the way, we package goods forever. By changing one small habit (using metal straws) it profoundly affected other habits without even consciously trying. That’s why it's important to start with something small, it may surprise you where it leads to, it has for us.
I just hope that reading this story inspires you to take a fresh look and act positively in the near future.
Let us know if it did?