The growing drive among anglers to recycle and cut down on waste has seen the launch of the first biodegradable boilie bags.
Unlike traditional plastic bait packaging that can sit in landfill sites for decades, the 2.5kg bags – originally designed for the coffee market – will compost in months.
Bait maker Simon Gardner told Carpfeed: “I started selling boilies under the Casual Carper brand in March and after a good initial response to the bait I was about to order 1,000 plastic boilie bags similar to what most bait companies choose.
“I'm a bit of an environmentalist at heart and I just could not bring myself to buy plastic bags in that volume so I set about trying to find an alternative.
“The bags are produced by a company in Canada and are predominately used for storing coffee.”
Manufacturer Tekpak calls the bags ‘omnidegradable’ and states they will not deteriorate on the shelf but will biodegrade in water, soil, compost heaps and landfills and will “revert to their original elements harmlessly”.
Simon said the process takes three to six months and the bags “will turn to CO2, water and a small amount of organic biomass”. He added: “The CO2 becomes methane in landfill, which is extracted in modern facilities.”
Asked whether the shipping of packaging from Canada is the most environmentally friendly process, Simon told Carpfeed: “They come over as part of a stock bag programme on shipping containers full of bags and are then distributed by the UK supplier to me.
“Shipping is regarded as a better way to move products than air. If I was to order printed boilie bags these are usually made across Europe and then shipped in too, so I feel the benefit of the reduced plastic makes the journey worthwhile.
“I will, however, always be on the lookout for a UK alternative.”
This move follows the success of a new line-recycling scheme that has seen the installation of special bins at tackle shops and fisheries.
A new Facebook group, Anglers against single-use plastic in the tackle trade, has also been joined by thousands of people in its first week.
“The hope is that this is just the start of a journey of change in the industry, and that offerings like this become the standard,” said Simon, who hopes to bring in biodegradable hookbait pots and liquid containers in future.
“We’ve only got one planet and we all love it, so we need to start taking care of it any way we can.”