Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Going Green with Montana Dream Fishing Outfitters

Yeah, I know. It's just a water bottle, right? Let's say that every guide goes through 8 to 12 store bought water bottles a day for about 120 days per year. So 1,200 water bottles a year. Would you say that's about right? So 1,200 water bottles a year per guide find their way into our landfills because most of us aren't going to make the effort to put them into the recycling bin at the end of the day and let's say there are 1,500 guides and outfitters working throughout Montana, which I think is pretty conservative. We're talking like, (conservatively,) 1,800,000 water bottles a year--just in Montana that will find their way into landfills!

That's a ton of plastic folks. Actually, that's like 112.5 tons! That's f'n  crazy so a few years ago I decided to try out a solution. I had these bottles made and I gave each client their own bottle at the beginning of the day. I carried re-useable jugs of water in my cooler and every morning, filled those jugs with fresh water and re-filled their bottles throughout the day. At the end of the day, clients either took the bottles with them or I deposited them into the recycling bin. Two bottles versus 10 and most often, the clients took the bottles with them as a souvenir.

My initial concern was that some of the outfitters that I worked for would have a problem with my logo being given out to their clients so I approached the outfitters and explained to them what I was doing. None of them had a problem with it because we had been working together for long enough for them to trust I had no intentions of stealing clients. However, I did get some feedback from a couple outfitters that I thought was interesting.

Two of the outfitters said they had tried a similar approach with little to no success. One of them said clients didn't really care that much and thought it was more of a pain than what it was worth. The other said he was using aluminum bottles and washing them every night and re-used them and clients weren't completely convinced the bottles were sanitary. I had different results.

I assured clients they were each getting their own brand new bottle that they could take with them so there wasn't an issue with sanitizing. Most also thought it was cool that they had a souvenir they could take with them and most also agreed that dumping that much plastic into the landfills was a problem. There were a few that could care less and I had to dispose of about 15 to 20% of the bottles but even so, it's still less than individual store bought bottles.

So let's talk cost. The first round of bottles I bought were around $.90ea. This last batch came out to around $1.15 after shipping and another set-up fee because I decided to order them online myself. (The original batch was ordered through Hands On in Bozeman while I was staying down there so there wasn't the shipping cost. I would definitely order from them again if I was still staying down there.) If I remember correctly, a case of water bottles from Costco is about 5 bucks. Let's just say that a bottle costs between $.20 and $.30. So if we average that out, it's roughly $2.50 per day. If you use two re-useable bottles and one for yourself that lasts all season, you're actually saving money--not a lot but even if it's a wash, you're saving the environment and that's the point.

I do hope other guides and outfitters get on board with this. I certainly want to do my part in being a good steward of the environment and know others do as well. This is just one simple way we can do that and another way we can be an example for our communities.

Keep 'em where they live...

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