Seeking a lure brand with a strong stance on plastics and lead? Look no further than Westin
Most companies are aware of the growing need for more sustainable products throughout the world to help protect the environment. And sportfishing companies are no exception – on the contrary, they make their living selling products used in the environment.
Many companies have an environmental policy and have started to change their production processes to make them as environmentally friendly as possible. Some have just begun this work, while others have been at it for years. Scandinavian fishing tackle supplier Westin belongs to those who invest a great deal in supplying products that are as environmentally friendly as possible. And that includes the entire chain – from production and transport to packaging.
In addition to the moral obligation, producers are now forced to change their processes due to existing and soon to be introduced environmental legislation. Several countries have laws prohibiting fishing tackle containing lead and it looks like more countries will follow in the years to come.
Another hot topic in recent years is the use of toxic phthalates in soft lures. Phthalates are used as plasticisers and added to plastic to control the lure’s softness/flexibility, transparency and durability.
Westin’s Product Manager, Elias Narvelo, says: “All Westin soft lures are produced with approved materials and phthalates, but during the last four to five years we have constantly tested mixtures and pushed our business partners for new and more environment-friendly alternatives than today’s standard followed by many of our competing manufacturers.
“The challenge has been to find something that enables production with correct attributes such as durability, flexibility and transparency while preventing our hand-painted colours from fading away or coming off easy.
“Recently, we have been able to find a mixture that has all of the key features required to create some of the best quality soft lures out there at a competitive price point.”
“Another positive aspect of the new mixture is that it is close to odour-free, creating a better work environment from factory to shops all the way to the tackle boxes of anglers.
“This is, however, far from our last step in a sustainable direction. We are fully aware of the long road ahead and the coming obstacles for us and the rest of the industry.
At Westin we take pride in being at the forefront tackling this.”
Developing lead-free alternatives
The use of lead tackle in angling is a contentious issue, with the primary concern being the potential effects on wildlife. The European Union is consulting over the use of lead in fishing weights and is expected to bring in legislation in the next few years to ban it.
There will be a cost implication to a lead ban, but EFTTA has recommended in the past that the industry starts to voluntarily phase out all lead weights heavier than 0.06g, to prepare in good time for future legislation.
For many years, Denmark has restricted the use of lead in fishing tackle. Since Westin’s head office is based in Denmark, it was a natural step for the company to start using alternatives to lead in its products at an early stage.
“As well as making soft lures that are free from toxic phthalates we switched the production of all of our spinning lures from lead to zinc a decade ago and all our hard lures produced today are completely lead free,” says Narvelo.
Reducing package size and saving costs
Premium lure prices demand premium presentation in packaging, or so the marketing story goes. But as consumers grow more aware of the negative environmental impact of plastics, brands in the fishing world are beginning to take notice. They are beginning to see that reducing their dependence on such plastics can positively affect both the planet around which the industry revolves, but also their bottom line and brand reputation.
“It’s important to have good packaging that presents and protects the product,” says Narvelo. “We found that we could achieve equally good results when we eliminated the internal blister packaging from the box. The result was a savings of almost 300kg of plastic waste on just a small, 10,000-piece order.” And, as a bonus, Narvelo says that dropping the blister packaging saves on shipping costs as well.
“In general, production costs are the same, but where we save money is during shipping, since the weight and volume of the specific product is much less than before. This is however just a bonus for us. Our primary goal with this is to reduce plastic waste.”
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