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Merwin: The Price of "Green" Fishing

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September 16, 2009

Merwin: The Price of "Green" Fishing

By John Merwin

Why should going “green” cost more money? Or to put it another way, when we as individual sportsman want to do something good for the environment in terms of the gear we use, why should we have to pay a financial premium to do so?

This is a question brought up by a reader here, Wags, who was addressing the cost of rubber-soled wading boots versus felt. Rubber soles (with studs) are somewhat more expensive than felt, but better for the environment because felt soles tend to transport invasive species. The question, however, involves far more than wading boots.

Going green is fashionable, for one thing, and sometimes lately seems a little over the top. Do you need a shirt made with high-priced bamboo fibers instead of polyester? Or expensive sunglasses frames made from castor beans instead of petroleum-based plastics?

Then there’s a kind of environmental morality that existed long before green fashion. I bought a new refrigerator the other day. It cost $50 to get rid of the old one. I could have driven the old one with my truck up into the nearby national forest after dark, dumped it in a ravine, and saved $50. Sadly, there are a few areas up there that are appliance graveyards. But doing such a thing is totally beyond me, and I happily paid the money for proper disposal. I don’t throw beer cans in trout streams, either.

In our throw-away, fantastic-plastic society, the environmental cost of any particular product is usually not included in its price. When I buy a truck tire, for example, the price typically does not include the cost of the tire’s eventual disposal.

So yes, doing things right is often going to cost more than we’re used to. On the other hand, I also agree there should sometimes be incentives. So maybe some wading-boot makers could do as Wags suggested: use some kind of modest price-coupon system to buy back old felt-soled boots and thereby give a small discount on new rubber-soled versions. That’s not too far-fetched.

And yes, please take my old washing machine while you’re at it...

Comments (9)

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from Roforde wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Makes me think of E85. It cost less than gas but a lot harder on your engine even if it is a FFV. In the long run its going to cost you more with trips to the shop. Don't forget that it also gets you horrible gas milage.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Credit for trading in felt for rubber would be a brilliant marketing campaign, as well... but typical marketing execs will shirk because of not-invented-here syndrome.

And, yes, going green has gone over the top.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Well, when some marketing guy "thinks up" this idea you can all remember you read it hear first!!! I wonder if I can get some kind of finders fee? The water treatment business has been a little hard on the family this year so I'll take whatever I can get!

I think going green is a overall good thing. As we teach the scouts, leave it a little better than you found it. The problem is that it became "trendy". Most things (coffe or fly fishing for example) seem to become expensive and "over the top" when they become trendy. And I am not against a company making money. Companies making money hire employees, and that is a good thing. I just thought it would make a little more sense to come out with an option that makes it possible for folks to afford to do the right thing. From the standpoint of a boot provider I would think it would raise revenue, at least during the initial "big switch". Once people are comfortable with the rubber (with studs) then they come back to buy the higher end models, which usually provide higher profit margins.

Anybody reading this need a sales/marketing guy for outdoor equipment??

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ironpete0827 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I went green a few years ago by using steel split shots instead of lead. I think they should do away with lead fishing equipment due to the damage it could cause, but it is hard to find in some areas. I also wish that firearm ammunition was a lttle less cost prohibitive to use lead alternative. It costs a fortune to go waterfowl hunting anymore.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nick@korkers.com wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Wags, you're always going to be welcome here at www.korkers.com. Will you work for boots? Thanks for the ideas.

Starting in 2010 we're going to be offering dealers the ability to order all boots that feature our OmniTrax™ Interchangeable Sole System with both a felt and Kling-On sticky rubber sole included. Currently we offer a felt sole and trail lug sole for hiking/waterfowl use. Our Cross Current boot will be included at $89.99.

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but rubber soles aren't necessarily "better for the environment." This has become a common misconception. While rubber soles certainly dry faster and are easier to clean, they don't work as well as felt in some fishing environments. Anglers still need to clean and dry their ENTIRE boot prior to entering another water regardless of whether they're using felt or rubber.

I think marketing dollars may be better spent educating anglers about how to properly treat boots before moving to the next body of water rather than encouraging people to trash their wading boots and go out and buy a new pair with rubber soles.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

The planet doesn't need "saving" and that's the problem with this green nonsense. Be more efficient and save money, ok. Save the planet or we're all going to die, nuts. Remember, internationally the green movement is the haven of displaced communists and anti-Western tree huggers. The cost is elevated because this is just a scheme to charge more regardless of the effectiveness. Example, Al Gore's carbon credit scam.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Nick,
I may just take you up on that one Nick. I have 3 children who have all love fishing. The oldest just turned 11 this summer and got his first pair of waders. He has sucdessfully taken bluegill and some Smoky Mountain rainbows on the long rod. Number 2 is 7 and chomping at the bit. Baby girl is good with her little rod. So, going by how little feet grow, working for boots may be financially sound in the not too distant future. All kidding aside, if your interested in an idea guy.........

So are you saying that one could be "green" whilst still wearing felt? I remember talk of bleach solutions and drying, but that never got traction (nice pun, huh!). Or, perhaps more importantly, one could go out and drop some serious coin on a false sense of security in terms of invasive species control. Interesting. What are the proper cleaning techniques for proper boot care?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I picked up a little qoute off Moldychum this morning that stuck with me. The conversation was about conservation. The quote was "Fisherman just can't go fishing then leave and go home anymore." What it means is that we can no longer take for granted that our fisheries will always be there. Fisherman need to be active in conservation.

As for the expense of the new rubber soles. It's not uncommon for a company to price a new product high to pay for R&D, marketing roll out cost and also take advantage of the market before the competition comes up with something better. My guess is we'll be buying them a lot cheaper soon.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I'm pretty much at the point where if I hear the word "GREEN" one more time I will trip a circuit breaker. It's kinda the same way I feel about hearing the song "Achy Breaky Heart". Every carpet bagger and snake oil salesman in the country has added this word to their sales pitch and it has absolutely nothing to do with the enviroment. I actually saw a potatoe chip commercial that used the word "GREEN". Give me a break.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from nick@korkers.com wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Wags, you're always going to be welcome here at www.korkers.com. Will you work for boots? Thanks for the ideas.

Starting in 2010 we're going to be offering dealers the ability to order all boots that feature our OmniTrax™ Interchangeable Sole System with both a felt and Kling-On sticky rubber sole included. Currently we offer a felt sole and trail lug sole for hiking/waterfowl use. Our Cross Current boot will be included at $89.99.

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but rubber soles aren't necessarily "better for the environment." This has become a common misconception. While rubber soles certainly dry faster and are easier to clean, they don't work as well as felt in some fishing environments. Anglers still need to clean and dry their ENTIRE boot prior to entering another water regardless of whether they're using felt or rubber.

I think marketing dollars may be better spent educating anglers about how to properly treat boots before moving to the next body of water rather than encouraging people to trash their wading boots and go out and buy a new pair with rubber soles.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I picked up a little qoute off Moldychum this morning that stuck with me. The conversation was about conservation. The quote was "Fisherman just can't go fishing then leave and go home anymore." What it means is that we can no longer take for granted that our fisheries will always be there. Fisherman need to be active in conservation.

As for the expense of the new rubber soles. It's not uncommon for a company to price a new product high to pay for R&D, marketing roll out cost and also take advantage of the market before the competition comes up with something better. My guess is we'll be buying them a lot cheaper soon.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Roforde wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Makes me think of E85. It cost less than gas but a lot harder on your engine even if it is a FFV. In the long run its going to cost you more with trips to the shop. Don't forget that it also gets you horrible gas milage.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Credit for trading in felt for rubber would be a brilliant marketing campaign, as well... but typical marketing execs will shirk because of not-invented-here syndrome.

And, yes, going green has gone over the top.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Well, when some marketing guy "thinks up" this idea you can all remember you read it hear first!!! I wonder if I can get some kind of finders fee? The water treatment business has been a little hard on the family this year so I'll take whatever I can get!

I think going green is a overall good thing. As we teach the scouts, leave it a little better than you found it. The problem is that it became "trendy". Most things (coffe or fly fishing for example) seem to become expensive and "over the top" when they become trendy. And I am not against a company making money. Companies making money hire employees, and that is a good thing. I just thought it would make a little more sense to come out with an option that makes it possible for folks to afford to do the right thing. From the standpoint of a boot provider I would think it would raise revenue, at least during the initial "big switch". Once people are comfortable with the rubber (with studs) then they come back to buy the higher end models, which usually provide higher profit margins.

Anybody reading this need a sales/marketing guy for outdoor equipment??

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ironpete0827 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I went green a few years ago by using steel split shots instead of lead. I think they should do away with lead fishing equipment due to the damage it could cause, but it is hard to find in some areas. I also wish that firearm ammunition was a lttle less cost prohibitive to use lead alternative. It costs a fortune to go waterfowl hunting anymore.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Wags wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Nick,
I may just take you up on that one Nick. I have 3 children who have all love fishing. The oldest just turned 11 this summer and got his first pair of waders. He has sucdessfully taken bluegill and some Smoky Mountain rainbows on the long rod. Number 2 is 7 and chomping at the bit. Baby girl is good with her little rod. So, going by how little feet grow, working for boots may be financially sound in the not too distant future. All kidding aside, if your interested in an idea guy.........

So are you saying that one could be "green" whilst still wearing felt? I remember talk of bleach solutions and drying, but that never got traction (nice pun, huh!). Or, perhaps more importantly, one could go out and drop some serious coin on a false sense of security in terms of invasive species control. Interesting. What are the proper cleaning techniques for proper boot care?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ENO wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I'm pretty much at the point where if I hear the word "GREEN" one more time I will trip a circuit breaker. It's kinda the same way I feel about hearing the song "Achy Breaky Heart". Every carpet bagger and snake oil salesman in the country has added this word to their sales pitch and it has absolutely nothing to do with the enviroment. I actually saw a potatoe chip commercial that used the word "GREEN". Give me a break.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

The planet doesn't need "saving" and that's the problem with this green nonsense. Be more efficient and save money, ok. Save the planet or we're all going to die, nuts. Remember, internationally the green movement is the haven of displaced communists and anti-Western tree huggers. The cost is elevated because this is just a scheme to charge more regardless of the effectiveness. Example, Al Gore's carbon credit scam.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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