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Inspired by PlasticFreePlymouthSound, SavingTheEarthOneTipAtATime and GretaThunburg, at Devon Sailing Experiences, we are pledging an attempt to reduce our use of single-use plastics (SUPs).

Habits, no matter how damaging they are, can be hard to break so we are going to take it just one step at a time – after all, one small step is better than no step at all. Our first area of focus is our use of single-use water bottles.

Current use of single-use water bottles

Devon Sailing Experiences provide water (as well as tea, coffee, hot chocolate, juice and squash) to our guests during their time aboard our yachts for a skippered charter or during RYA training courses. We always have a full tank of clean running water aboard our yachts, yet until now, we have still chosen to provide bottled water for our guests. 

Lots of it, too….

For every day-sail (with a maximum of 5 guests plus a skipper) we ensure that there are at least 18 bottles onboard. For every weekend sail (with a maximum of 4 guests plus a skipper) we ensure there are 30 bottles onboard. 

Let us assume that every weekend between April and the end of September, our yacht is carrying out a weekend sailing experience. 26 weekends with 30 SUP bottles a time – that means we give our guests a total of 780 SUP bottles throughout the sailing season. In addition to the bottles, each set is wrapped in – you guessed it – more SUP packaging.

I can’t even begin to visualise what 780 plastic bottles look like – can you? And our small, family-run business is responsible for that huge amount of plastic alone.

Our plan to reduce single-use plastic during 2020

We are not for one minute saying that we will stop using all SUP from now on, but we are going to do our very best to reduce it, starting with our water bottle usage. We spent a long time researching and considering alternatives and asked for advice from a number of online communities. Ideas included water-in-a-box, reusable glass (and plastic) drinks dispensers, as well as the suggestion that guests should just bring their own. In the end, we have decided to ask our guests for their help with one simple step – but first, we would like your opinion.

Would you be happy to bring your own refillable bottles?
We will be asking this question on our Devon Sailing Experiences Facebook page on 30th September and would love to know your views. Do follow the link after this date and let us know your opinion on the matter.

Of course, our water tank will continue to be regularly refreshed – this happens naturally during the busy summer season due to the regular yacht useage. We will continue to ensure that we keep cups and for guests who have forgotten their reusable drinks bottles. We also have to legally provide spare bottles of water on board for emergency use.

Summary

By taking this step:

– Are we encouraging reusing rather than throwing away? Yes.
– Are we cutting down on single-use plastic? Yes.
– Will we continue to review our business and make other small changes to help reduce waste? Yes.

We would like to thank PlasticFreePlymouthSound for raising awareness, SavingTheEarthOneTipAtATime for the fantastic ideas they share in their online community and inspiring us to make one small change for the planet, and of course GretaThunburg who is showing the world great things can be achieved by thinking differently.

We will keep you updated with how it goes and our next steps.