Sustainable Practise

Sustainable and Responsible Practise in our Industry

It seems that, finally, people around the globe across all industries are becoming more environmentally aware and responsible. It is therefore of upmost importance that as an industry we continue to work hard in 2020 on our transition towards sustainable and responsible behaviour.

Considering the work that our industry already does in terms of conservation and habitat creation, we are in a good position. However, whether it be the ever-present issue of plastic waste, or sourcing what we can locally, it is important that we move forward together as an industry and demonstrate a progressive attitude regarding sustainability issues.


What We’re Doing

Sustainability has long been taken seriously at Keepers Choice. From an early stage we wanted to change the mindset of a game feed bag being something to discard immediately after use.

In August 2000 we printed our ‘Hawk-Face’ on the back on our feed bags. This meant that after the bag was emptied, it could be used as a deterrent for corvids and other birds of prey – a practice that continues to this day.

We also encourage our feed bags to be re-used. Richard Leach, sales and marketing manager at Keepers Choice, said: “I’ve seen them used on building sites for rubble, timber yards for firewood and to collect empty cartridges on shoots”. We also see them used for wheat and storing feed purchased in bulk.

Something that has been added to our feed bags as of 2020 is a clearly identifiable recyclable logo. Although the feed bags have always been recyclable, this image ensures there is no confusion. For anybody looking to recycle feed bags from Keepers Choice, we advise they speak to the local authority so they can learn of the nearest recycling plant that will take the bags. If it is a new feed bag with the logo on, the number ‘4’ should be quoted as this denotes the type of plastic and polymers used.

Having spoken to some of our customers who are bigger bag users, one customer even has an arrangement with a local skip company in which they collect clean bags to then recycle. Whilst another stores clean bags and is currently seeking a new home where they can be used again (If are interested in receiving these bags please email or get in touch).

Whilst on sustainability, at Keepers Choice we try to source locally produced cereals whenever possible.


Plastic Pollution

According to a piece by Dylan Williams from The Royal Berkshire Shooting School, conservative estimates put the number of plastic wad cartridges used in the UK by game shooters in a single year at 9 million – bearing in mind that only 10% of game shots now use plastic wads and that this is without our friends who solely shoot clays; this is a staggering number!

However, it is important that we praise the 90% who now use fibre wads and the general resetting of the mindset across the industry that is seeing plastic wads shunned and fibre embraced. In his piece, Dylan Williams talks about a good friend recounting a recent shoot:

“The host welcomed the Guns, clarified the safety issues, and explained that as third generation owners who loved their ‘home’, could they ask that no one used plastic wads. After the first drive, all of the Guns were gathered by the host who asked in a most blunt fashion which of them had decided to ignore the request. The offender eventually owned up, had his parentage questioned, and was made to use estate cartridges at £1 each – he shot brilliantly all day!”

This is a fantastic example of how our industry is becoming more sustainable, and also dispels the myth that shooting will be severely affected when changing from plastic wads to fibre wads. Many people are of the thinking that stratospheric birds will be killed cleaner with a plastic wad; but the cost of this to both the environment and the image of our industry surely isn’t worth it?

Additionally, renowned shot Simon Ward bluntly states that “There is simply no excuse to use plastic wad cartridges”. He argues that many people don’t look after fibre wad cartridges properly, for example storing them in damp places, and this will result in a below par performance.

As countryside custodians, we wouldn’t litter the countryside with plastic waste whilst walking our dogs, so why should we be using plastic wad cartridges when the alternative is just as good!?


Game Meat

When on the subject of sustainable practise, it is difficult not to mention the great work by The Country Food Trust (CFT). By taking surplus game meat and feeding people in need, the CFT have recently announced that they have fed over 500,000 people and have their sights set on feeding one million people as the next milestone.

This charity is being supported heavily by organisations across our industry, including Keepers Choice, and it is another example of our industry pulling together and demonstrating sustainability.


A Sustainable Future

So, as we have demonstrated, the game shooting industry is doing a lot to make itself more sustainable and better for the environment. With recycling being encouraged more than ever, more and more people switching to fibre wads and organisations such as the CFT successfully helping communities in need – we should be quite proud with the direction in which our traditions are moving.

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