What does sustainability mean to you? For us, it means making sure that we create a world that people can enjoy for years after we are gone. As a small business based on the East Coast, we want to preserve the natural beauty of our beaches, islands, and waterways. Kitty Hawk Kites is dedicated to helping reduce plastic waste, carrying and promoting reusable products, and educating our community on choosing more sustainable practices.
Reducing Plastic Waste
Plastic waste in our oceans has become a global crisis. The biggest culprit is single-use plastic. Straws, bags, cups, utensils, packaging, you name it. We’re all guilty of using them. And sometimes it’s unavoidable. But we can always do better! Like sustainability advocate and author of The Zero-Waste Chef, Anne-Marie Bonneau says,
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.
Small changes can make a big difference, especially when many people work together. That’s why we’ve partnered with 4Ocean. Every purchase of one of their bracelets, shirts, and 100s of other products pulls a pound of plastic from the ocean. That debris then gets recycled into one of their products if possible. As of January 2021, Kitty Hawk Kites has helped to pull over 40,000 pounds of plastic waste from the ocean.
One of the best ways to reduce single-use plastic waste is to invest in reusable products. And it doesn’t stop at water bottles (although those are great). Reusable bags can eliminate the need for plastic bags, which are hazardous to ocean life. Metal straws are another great alternative to their plastic counterparts. And since the COVID outbreak, single-use face masks have started to make up a significant part of the debris crowding our oceans and beaches. Opt for a fabric, washable face mask instead! We find they’re much more comfortable anyway and can be just as effective.
Educating our Community
Starting in March 2020, we partnered with Will Freund on his project to share the stories of those impacted by climate change through sail-kayaking the Intracoastal Waterway. Kitty Hawk Kites and Kitty Hawk Surf Co. have been honored to help sponsor this journey as we work to learn about the real effects of climate change on coastal communities. With this information, we can make changes to preserve our waterways and coastlines and work towards a more sustainable future.
Climate, Kayak, and Conversation aims to record the stories of those affected by climate change in their communities, work, and the ecosystems in which they live and ultimately create a documentary to create a cohesive narrative around the stories collected during the voyage.
The journey did get postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, Will is now back out on the water with his Hobie Mirage Adventure Island, the Time & Tide. While grounded this past year, Will created a podcast to continue his mission. Each episode features coastal business leaders. Listen to the latest episode here or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow along on his journey on Instagram or go to his website to get involved!
In addition to kayaking up the ICW for this project, Will has partnered with the Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC). Any excess funds will be donated to them to help their mission to build connections, provide professional development, and promote excellence in environmental education.
Our sustainability practices may not be perfect. But we are doing our part to fight climate change, pollution, and waste as best as we can. We would love to hear from you! How are you supporting sustainability? How can we do better? Happy Earth Day!