Many of us fish in the same waters as the Great Pacific garbage patch, a vortex of trash — mostly plastics — that, depending on the source, is either as big as Texas or twice as big as Texas. We’re not innocent, of course; our fishing gear sometimes gets lost in the ocean, and our worn out deckwear will labor somewhere on earth for a very long time after it starts to leak on our sweats.

According to foul-weather gear leader Grundéns, just 1 percent of the some 500 billion plastic bags that are used around the world annually are recycled, and the Washington State-based company is doing its part to cut down on plastic waste by rolling out fully compostable packaging.

“With plastics in the ocean playing a major role in the health of many fisheries around the world, we’re taking the lead in bringing an alternative to poly bags to the market,” said Grundéns CEO David Mellon.

Instead of the plastic sleeves Grundéns used to sell their gear in, all new products shipped this year will be in a 100 percent biodegradable packaging made from the glucose in corn starch. When cut into strips, the packaging decomposes in under a year and is suitable for either home or municipal composting systems.

“This new compostable packaging will allow customers to drop it into their own home or municipal compost stream, confident they aren’t adding plastic waste into the environment,” Mellon added.

Grundéns is producing the packaging in six sizes, which means they can make the biodegradable packaging fit the product. Extra packaging means needless air is shipped along with products, and the packaging project is open source, with supplier information printed on the outside of the package.  Grundéns hopes to serve as example and bring other companies along on its mission to reduce plastic packaging.

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Brian Hagenbuch is National Fisherman's products editor, a contributing editor to SeafoodSource and a Bristol Bay fisherman. He is based in Seattle.

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