Is it time to kick the plastic bucket?

Transparent plastic bucket with transparent lid, plastic containers

As word has spread that ducks deserve better than stale bread, businesses have started pouring duck food into plastic buckets.

Plastic buckets are cheap to produce, cheap to fill and can survive the rigours of supply chains with ease.

If they’re so great, you might wonder why we don’t use them? Well we believe that cheapness actually comes with a cost that’s simply not worth it:

Plastic Waste

What happens once the duck food has gone? Perhaps the bucket might be temporarily re-used to contain something else, or put with household recycling collections.

Or perhaps it may just end up discarded near the ducks, or end up in a landfill dump for centuries, or end up being shipped abroad under the auspices of being “recycled” but ending up on suspiciously rubbish dump looking areas of land.

And let’s not forget that that many plastics are a product of the oil industry, which isn’t widely regarded as being a force for environmental good.

Encouraging Overfeeding

Where once you may have seen plastic bags of bread down by the waterside, now you can see people with their plastic buckets of duck food. With the instructions on the packs invariably recommend scattering generously, well meaning folk end up emptying entire buckets of food into the water – risking one of the problems associated with bread – overfeeding.

At popular duck feeding spots, the emptying of buckets of duck food into the water is likely to create an unnaturally large gathering of ducks, swans and geese in a messy riot for the food. And what they don’t eat could end up polluting the water.

Even in a quieter spot where other people are less likely to also be coming to feed the ducks, emptying out an entire bucket of duck food may not be as kind as intended. A duck full of human offerings is less likely to carry on foraging for its own natural sources of food.

Concerns about overfeeding are leading to duck feeding being banned in some parts of the country.

Feeding the ducks is many people’s first interaction with nature – and getting out and about in the natural world is widely regarded as being good for us, as well as helping us understand our role in caring for it. If duck feeding can be done in a responsible way, avoiding overfeeding, then bans need not eliminate this age-old activity.

The Quack Snacks Way

We don’t offer duck food in plastic buckets or bags. In fact, we don’t offer duck food in any large container. They’re no fun to carry and they encourage overfeeding, or at least the temptation to keep offering more.

Our little “quack snack” portion packs are made with 100% PEFC certified paper from sustainably managed forests, they are biodegradable and 100% recyclable. They’re shipped in cardboard packaging, sealed without plastic sticky tape.

Packing machinery is by and large geared up to fill into plastic bags, so we fill our paper Quack Snacks packs by hand. Our weighing machine fires out 40 gram portions and then a Quack Packer folds and labels each bag.

Plastic buckets or bags would be many many times cheaper for us to make and sell – resulting in either cheaper prices for you, or greater profits to boost our tea break biscuits from custard creams to posh chocolate ones. We just don’t think the overall cost is worth it, but:

The Choice Is Yours

Do you want to overfeed the ducks and be part of the movement to ban the activity?

Do you want the cheapest possible price for you, regardless of the wider environmental cost?

If not, then please consider the alternatives and let the people who are shipping plastic buckets know what you think. Businesses generally only do what customers are willing to buy.

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