Make sustainable products fit for purpose! They should better and cheaper!!

At the beginning of January, the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate came into force, which requires manufacturers to produce a certain percentage of electric cars per year, to help pave the way for the ban on petrol and diesel engines that (supposedly) comes into effect in 2035.

The logic behind such a move is clear, as there’s no doubt that we need to transition to using more sustainable products that are better for the environment.

However, wouldn’t it be better if greater focus was placed on making sustainable products that are equal to or better than the product they are replacing, rather than relying on legislation and gimmicks to push ‘sustainable’ products that often aren’t fit for purpose?

Now, electric cars don’t fall into this category, because although they’re not without their problems, the technology is continually improving. But many so-called sustainable products serve no purpose aside from making life more expensive and inconvenient, and have little or no effect in helping to protect the environment.

A perfect example of this would be so-called ‘biodegradable’ paper coffee cups, which are supposed to be an improvement on their plastic counterparts. But the reality is that the thin layer of plastic that’s used to coat the outside (to prevent liquid from seeping through) makes the product just as toxic to humans and the environment than the product they are designed to replace. They also only fully degrade in the right conditions, so tossing them in the recycling bin just ain’t gonna cut it. Therefore, it’s of little surprise that approximately only 4 out of every 100 of these ‘eco-friendly’ cups actually ends up being recycled in the UK.

So, does that mean that sustainable products are a con? Far from it. There are some industries that make truly sustainable products that aren’t just equal to, but actually better than the original product.

And one of those industries leading the way is the retreading industry. By reusing as much of the original tyre casing as possible, we’re able to create a superior product that’s cheaper, better for the environment, and has a similar, or in some cases longer, life expectancy than the original product. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? And yet, our industry has proven that creating a genuinely sustainable product needn’t be confined to the realms of make-believe. The results speak for themselves.

So, how much recognition do you think retreading gets from the government for being one of the only genuinely sustainable industries?

The answer is zilch. Nothing. Nada.

This isn’t just bad news from my personal business perspective, but bad news for the planet as a whole. Because rather than giving out millions of pounds in subsidies to companies like Drax, whose environmental credentials are questionable to say the very least, if the government were to reward those industries that are making a genuine contribution towards a more sustainable future, there’s no doubt that more companies would follow suit.

But without this incentive, sadly we’ll continue to see more gimmicks, greenwashing and government interventions, when a simple answer was staring us in the face all along.

Because when you create a product that’s better, cheaper and sustainable as retreads are, the consumer needs no further incentive to part with their hard-earned cash — they don’t need to be tricked, coerced or financially blackmailed into buying it.

So, maybe more businesses need to get back to basics, put real meaning back into the word ‘innovation’, and show consumers that they shouldn’t have to compromise on quality or be financially penalised for choosing to buy sustainable products. The retreading industry has show that it’s more than possible, now it’s time for the rest of the world to catch up.