Ecoworks has created sustainable cleaning products to be used within the maritime industry that use what business development manager, Angus Johnston describes as “a clever combination of bacteria and enzymes to effectively eat dirt rather than burn it.” The company has recently signed contracts with Pragati to distribute the product to the US and Seal Superyachts to distribute to the Asian market.
“Most general cleaners will use acids or synthetic solvents to essentially burn dirt from the surface”, he continues. “We use bacteria, enzymes and replenishable sources such as solvents and detergents from plant life to effectively do the same job.”
One of the main issues about sustainable products, Johnston notes, is the lack of regulation surrounding them. “There’s no clear-cut line, which can lead to a lot of smoke and mirrors. They may simply be watered down versions of their predecessors, or just in nice-looking packaging. There are a lot of brands out there that look great. What we’re trying to do, however, is look to the future. I believe legislation will come in soon to regulate this market and we are trying to prepare for this.”
The ex-yachtie recalls that there was limited initial interest in this type of product: “I started off trying to sell the product in Pinmar and there was little interest at the time. I once had a Russian skipper say, ‘I like what you do but I like my chemicals’.” Now the product has been launched as part of British Marine’s ‘The Green Blue’ initiative and Ecoworks has had a stand at all of the major yacht shows this year.
Johnston pins this success on the current interest in sustainability within the global media. “This success is not because of what I’m doing but what the rest of the world is doing, the topic of sustainability has a huge presence within the world’s media.” This surge in interest in the state of our climate is also demonstrated by Ecowork’s plan to approach the Asian and American superyacht markets.
However, Johnston notes that this interest is not necessarily coming from owners themselves, but the crew. “A good 80 per cent of our business is with professional yacht crew. We do have a UK distributor, but the UK yacht market is very slow. The average boat owner in the UK is probably 50, while the average age of a crewmember is normally between 20 to 35. The younger generation is the one thinking about the environment.”
Controversially, the Ecoworks products come in plastic packaging, but Johnston maintains that this is actually the most ecological solution.
“There is no doubt that single-use plastic is a huge issue. However, plastic is an extremely useful product provided it is used correctly.
“We bottle all our products in HDPE 2 plastic, made from post-consumer products that can be recycled more than 10 times over. Our product has to be provided in a durable package that can be easily transported. We looked into alternative materials such as glass, but it breaks easily, so freight companies hate it, and it is heavy which means more fuel is required. Aluminium was another medium that we explored but found that the manufacturing process is far more detrimental to the o-zone layer than it is producing plastic. We offer some of our products as a concentrated solution, with a minimum dilution of one to 10, so you can get 50 litres out of a five litre bottle, saving 49 bottles.”
Reinforcing Johnston’s message, it is clear that a younger generation is emerging with more of an active interest in sustainability and the future of the world’s ecosystems. This topic has not been overlooked by our industry and it is clear that, if the superyacht industry is to continue to flourish, we need to be looking at solutions such as these to guarantee future prosperity.
This year’s edition of The Superyacht Forum, running from 18-20 November, plans to look at what the next generation of owners and crew will look for in their superyacht experience. For more information on this event, click here.
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