Friend of 2 Minute: Beth Noy

Beth Noy is the brains behind Plastic Freedom, an online shop that stocks plastic-free alternatives to everyday items. 

“By choosing to live plastic-free it forces big companies to make changes to meet their customers needs.”

We spoke to Beth about setting up her business, watching it grow and moving to Cornwall. 

Hey, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! How are you doing? We see you moved to Cornwall recently! Was this spurred on by the lockdown last year?

I’m great thanks! I’m so happy the world has started to reopen more, not that life has changed loads, but that sense of freedom is back.

Yes I moved to Cornwall in September last year, after a year of wanting to. It’s incredible down here! I realised I needed to live by the ocean after running the Plastic Freedom stall down at Fistral Beach during Boardmasters in 2019.

When did Plastic Freedom start and how did it happen? Was there a penny-dropping moment?

Moving to the seaside town of Southport and seeing the amount of plastic and rubbish on the beaches really opened my eyes to the plastic problem. It was everywhere and right on my doorstep! I started seeing things in a different way. I noticed myself and my work colleagues buying meal deals every day for lunch, all wrapped in disposable packaging. It made me start to think about how much we throw away. 

When I then looked into cutting down on my own single use plastic I realised how many hours of research it took to find a company that was genuinely plastic free. I knew that if I could offer products and proper advice to people (you’re more likely to buy something your friend recommends right?) that I could help others to make changes too.

Two weeks later, my website was built and launched!

Why is it so important for people to cut out single-use plastic from their daily lives?

When I talk to people about personally reducing their plastic, the general view seems to be ‘I’m not going to make a difference so why bother’. However, it really is these small changes that have a big impact!

Since I started Plastic Freedom we’ve sold over 250,000 products. That’s a quarter of a million products that would otherwise have been plastic and probably ended up in landfill. (Never mind the plastic packaging that the plastic item arrived in!) 

It’s these choices that also change consumer demand. By choosing to live plastic-free it forces big companies to make changes to meet their customers needs. 

Do you have any big plans for 2021?

Yes! So many! I am hoping to get a small space in Newquay where I can work from, run a small shop and also offer rentals of the new outdoor range I have launched. Not only that, but I have a secret side of the site which will be launching before the year is out, as well as some incredible partnerships with brands I can’t talk about just yet!

I also want to step into the world of eco consultancy. I want to get the community together in Newquay to try and prevent issues happening (e.g. the fires/rubbish left on Fistral Beach daily). I want to run events with local businesses to host screenings and talks based around plastic… So just a few things!

That’s the thing about Plastic Freedom, there are literally a million different directions to go in because the world needs our help!

What’s your favourite product in your Plastic Freedom shop?

This is the worst question you could ask me because I literally use pretty much everything! And I’m not just saying that either. Yes, I have my favourites from each brand that work for my own hair and skin type, but I only stock things I love myself from areas that I originally struggled to find the plastic free alternative. 

My top swaps in general were a safety razor, makeup remover and makeup wipes. These were such easy changes to make, and everyone raves about them on my social!

When did you first hear about the work of The 2 Minute Foundation and the #2minutebeachclean initiative?

I found the #2minutebeachclean on Instagram when I was running my blog ‘The Plastic Free Hobbit’. I got myself one of the beach clean bags and took it out with me every time I walked the dogs. It really gave me a real sense of community to see others all over the world doing the same, especially when I was surrounded by friends and family who weren’t on the same ‘mission’ in life.

Did 2020 teach you anything? Is there anything you’d like to encourage people to do differently this year?

2020 was a big year for me. It was emotional, hard and lonely, but also exciting and life changing. My biggest piece of advice would be to not let work control your existence. Get outside, take time to think about what makes you happy and then do more of that! 

Often when we do this we become more aware of our surroundings (rather than rushing to complete the checklist for the day) and we see the issues that are right in front of us. It’s this knowledge that drives change!

You may have heard of our #2minutesofpositivity campaign… What small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

I get in the sea, ride by the sea or look at the sea! There is something so calming and freeing about such a blue open space that it makes you excited for the day ahead and the potential it holds!

To take a look at Beth’s shop, Plastic Freedom, click here. You can follow her journey on Instagram too.

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Friend of 2 Minute: Kahi Pacarro

As co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and CEO of Parley for the Oceans, the sea is at the heart of everything Kahi Pacarro does. 

We talked to Kahi about his love of the ocean, his drive to protect it and why his work is so rewarding. 

Hey Kahi, thank you for taking time out to talk to us! How has 2021 been for you so far?

2021 is just another year full of challenges that I look forward to taking on. It’s been great so far and I expect it to continue to be so. 

Have you always loved the water? When did you first realise that our oceans needed protecting?

I have always loved the water. As a little kid I preferred a bath to a shower and now I’m an ocean addict that gets eggy if I don’t touch the salt water at least once a day. I started realising it needed protection when I began traveling and saw how badly our oceans were being treated globally. 

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is an amazing initiative. Did you feel like it was missing from your local community when you started the organisation? 

We started SCH because, at that point, cleaning beaches was not seen as something that was fun or cool. We wanted to flip the narrative and make cleaning beaches something that you wanted to do, not something we needed to do. 

Parley for the Oceans is also an incredible movement. You’ve had some massive brands get on board and takes the expression ‘stronger together’ to a whole new level. What’s it like to collaborate with so many creatives, scientists and businesses? 

The partnerships we’ve formed are amazing, but it’s not always easy. The brands that we work with sacrifice profit to make the changes we require of our partners. But, in the end, that sacrifice pays off as the brands become leaders in their respective industries, leading to opportunities to garner more market share, influence and profit. 

The collaborations we form are extremely fun and important. By coming together we recognise that we are not alone in this endeavour. The safe space to concrete solutions within the Parley ohana is ripe with innovations and ideas. I’m just honoured to be a part of it.

Here at The 2 Minute Foundation we know that beach cleaning isn’t just good for the planet, but for the mind, body and soul of the person cleaning up too. Do you notice the positive effects on the mental wellbeing of people who take part in your beach cleans?

100%. Cleaning beaches is a cathartic exercise that when done with people creates a community. The ehukai “sea spray” invigorates the microbiome and releases endorphins that awakens and makes you just feel good. So I say, I’m not a scientist. Ha!

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

The proudest moment of my career was the successful transition from SCH to Parley. When you create an NGO, you become that NGO. But if you become too ingrained and then leave the NGO will fail. Therefore, I worked my ass off to set it up and manage the transition so that SCH would not only survive, but thrive upon my departure from the helm. 2 years later and SCH is killing it! So is Parley. So that’s my proudest moment of my career. 

Can you tell us about anything exciting you have lined up for 2021?

We just launched the world’s first Parley AIR Station (a communal hub for education, ocean immersion, up-cycling and collaboration) with many more to come. I’m excited to start broadcasting from the Parley AIR Station in Hawaii and inspiring behaviour changes that can have tangible effects on reducing the amount of trash ending up on our coastlines. 

What can each person do as an individual to ensure they make a difference and help save our oceans?

First, get in them. Immerse yourself. Then share how rad that experience is and encourage others to do so too. They say you care for what you love. We need more people to fall in love with the oceans. 

Once the love is there, what comes next is the learning, which never ends. Take what you learn and start taking action. You can start by simply stopping the use of so much damn plastic. I encourage people to start with the switch to a bamboo toothbrush so that the first thing you do in the morning after your morning wee isn’t shoving plastic in your mouth. Start your day off right. 

Our #2minutesofpositivity campaign is all about taking 2 minutes every single day to do something that makes you happy. We think it makes all the difference. What small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

You guess. Yup, you’re right. I get in the ocean. 

Any parting words of wisdom?

Clean beaches start at home. 

Click the links to find out more about the work that Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Parley for the Oceans do.

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Support us by supporting them

We feel very lucky to have your support. Each time you post a 2-minute-hash-tagged photo on social media, do a litter pick or spread our message you are helping us to make the world a better place. 

The 2 Minute Foundation also receive support from some wonderfully creative people. These small businesses and artistic individuals donate a portion of their profits to us. So, by buying their products you can support us as well as support them. 

We’ve put together the following list of companies and people we work with. We are very proud to be chosen by them – and by you too. 

Smartie Lids on the Beach

Michelle Costello’s colourful artwork is completely unique. Each piece is made from washed up marine plastic and debris which she collects during beach cleans. You can buy Michelle’s artwork from her online shop. 

SIGG

We love working with SIGG. They make reusable water bottles (10 points for saving the planet and cutting out single-use plastic!) and donate 10% of sales from their 2 Minute specific designs to our charity.

Surfdome

We’ve worked from Surfdome since the beginning and couldn’t be prouder to be so close with such an eco-aware brand. 

So Little Time Clothing

Organic, ethical and sustainable, So Little Time’s clothes are made with love and respect for the great outdoors in mind. Matt’s clothing store donates 20% of profits from his adult range and 50% of profits from his kids range to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Coral Eyewear

George Bailey’s sunnies and glasses frames are made from recycled marine plastic. He’s had scores of good reviews, great press and repeat customers. We’re proud to work with George and his innovative company, Coral Eyewear. 

Cuddledry

Helen and Polly make award winning baby towels, baby gifts and children’s bath and swim products. 1% of their annual turner over goes to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Nicky Linzey

Nicky is an active member of the #2minutebeachclean community. She collects litter and marine debris and turns it into woven wall hangings. She also creates bowls from ghost fishing rope that she finds on UK beaches. You can buy her creations from our online shop by clicking here.

House of Hidden Treasures

Claire Jones sells original artwork and home decor in her Etsy store, House of Hidden Treasures. All her artwork is themed around nature and animals, and each piece is lovingly created by hand.

Life Forms Art

The team at Life Forms Art have created a beautiful notebook gift set to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Both the cover and the paper of the notebooks are 100% recycled and 30% of profits from the books go to us. 

Bee Bee & Leaf

Bees wax wraps are a great way to eliminate clingfilm and plastic packaging from your lunchbox and kitchen. Kath Austin, owner of Bee Bee & Leaf, donated £2 from every pack sold during November and December last year. We look forward to working together again soon! 

Croyde Sea Glass

North Devon local Vikki Worthington creates beautiful jewellery from the sea glass and ocean-tumbled pottery that she finds on the beaches. You’ll find it online and in shops in Croyde and beyond. 

INMIND Clothing

Kenneth, Angela and Thibaud work with young artists and designers to create unique clothing designs. All of their gear is Fair Trade and eco-friendly. 

Lighthouse Sustainability

Lighthouse Sustainability offer support and experience to businesses facing today’s sustainability challenges. We were the chosen charity of the year. Thank you to Emma Burlow and the team for working with us! 

Blue Jay Books

Laurie Newman’s popular book Jessie the Jellyfish, is an ocean-inspired story for children. You can buy it from our Charity Shop online or in store, and Laurie donates 10% from the sale of every book to us. 

Muddy Mermaid Spa

Sarah-Jane Moore makes lovely scrubs, creams and soaps. She donates a portion of her profits from sales to our charity too. 

Oname Soap

Kelly’s soap is made from all natural, responsibly sourced and cruelty free ingredients, plus comes in plastic free packaging. Oname donates 25% of ‘Polar Bear and Diver’ soap sales to The 2 Minute Foundation. 

Squid Ink Beach

The Squid Ink Beach Co was established in 2020. They create comfortable, quality and sustainable clothing for lovers of the outdoors, beaches and oceans, and founders Rob and Adam donate 5% of their profits to us too! 

Karolina Andreasova

Karolina’s style is intricate and unique and her artwork is available to buy from her website. She donates a portion of the profits made from selling her prints to The 2 Minute Foundation.

Caroline Bond

Last but by far not least, our wonderful friend Kittie Kipper. Creative Caroline turns beach rubbish into beautiful art. We love her ghost rope animals and baskets. She donates £2 from every ghost rope weaving kit sold and you can buy creations in our online charity shop by clicking here.

By supporting these small businesses you can help us make a huge change. Spending money with ethical, change-making companies and individuals makes a difference. 

Together we can make the world a better place. 

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Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year is nature. While we believe mental health and wellbeing is extremely important and should be talked about as much as possible in our normal, everyday lives, events such as Mental Health Awareness Week help to spark conversations, raise awareness and offer support to those who need it. 

OK? Let’s talk mental health and getting outside… 

Lockdown made life difficult for many people. Reduced contact with friends and family, job worries and home-schooling, not to mention isolation and lack of exercise, left a lot of us feeling depressed and anxious. This week The Mental Health Foundation launched a campaign to get us back outside in nature and feeling better. Mark Rowland, the CEO at the foundation, said, “Nature is our great untapped resource for a mentally healthy future.” We couldn’t agree more. 

Below you’ll find a few of our favourite ways, inspired by The Mental Health Foundation, to embrace nature and look after your mental wellbeing: 

Take 2 minutes for yourself and the planet 

Small actions add up to make a big difference. Modern life is fast paced. Our to do lists can seem never ending and sometimes it’s hard to take a step back. But it’s necessary. Take 2 minutes for yourself every day to do something that makes you happy. Even better if it’s outside! Take a walk, go for a swim, drink your morning coffee in the garden, do yoga, sing like no one is listening! By taking just 2 minutes to make yourself smile you’ll notice a positive effect on your whole day. 

Go for a walk 

You don’t have to hike a mountain or run through a forest to experience nature. Even going for a walk down the street or to the local shop will make you feel better. Stretch your legs, take some deep breaths of fresh air and interact with the outdoors. Try to take in your surroundings and really notice everything that’s happening around you with all of your senses. This can help ground you and focus your mind. 

Take part in a litter pick 

A #2minutelitterpick isn’t just great for the Earth. It’s beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing too. When you are doing something good for the planet you’ll feel a sense of achievement. Taking the time to do a #2minutestreetclean or #2minutebeachclean is really valuable; you’re helping to take care of our world, you’re getting fresh air and exercise and hopefully you’ll inspire others to do the same! 

Protect nature 

Taking care of nature is a great way to feel better too. By simply recycling, walking to work instead of driving or choosing reusable items over single-use plastic you are directly looking after the planet. Feel good about yourself and the choices you make, because you really do make a difference. 

For Mental Health Awareness Week we are revisiting the #2minutesofpositivity initiative. We are asking that this week you take 2 minutes for yourself and 2 minutes for the planet every day. Do something in nature that makes you happy, even if it’s only for 2 minutes. We are sure it’ll improve your mental wellbeing. If you’d like to share your story with us then visit our Instagram to get involved. Let’s spread the message and help more people feel good! 

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Friend of 2 Minute: Lauren Eyles

Lauren Eyles loves the sea. So much so that she has made it her life’s work. She is an ocean conservationist and presenter and works with Springwatch, the Marine Conservation Society, the Sea Watch Foundation and BBC Blue Planet UK.

We spoke with Lauren about why she is so passionate about marine life and protecting our planet. 

Hey Lauren, thanks so much for getting involved with the Friends of 2 Minute interview series! How has the beginning of 2021 been for you?

It has felt super slow! I can’t complain too much though. I live in a lovely part of South Wales, really close to the beach, and so have still been able to spend time in the environment that makes me happiest. It’s also been really nice to have more time with my son out of school, which I wouldn’t have had in normal circumstances. No matter how hard it’s been juggling everything, I’ve cherished that the most over all these lockdowns. But, things are starting to pick up and the sun is shining – so life is good! 

You’ve been working for the Marine Conservation Society for 10 years which is amazing. When did you first realise you wanted to work in this sector?

I’ve always had an affinity with the ocean. At age seven I told my grandma that I wanted to become a marine biologist, that I wouldn’t have much money, but would have a good life! This early fascination started when visiting the beach as a child and not being able to sit still! I couldn’t resist a good explore of the rock pools and I’ve always had a love for dolphins and cetaceans. I mean, what little girl doesn’t?!

When did you start working as the Regional Coordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation? What does your role there entail?

With a real love for cetaceans, I began volunteering for Sea Watch Foundation at the very start of my career, about 15 years ago. I wanted to get stuck into practical conservation work right here in the UK. Sea Watch are based in New Quay, Wales – home to one of two semi-resident Bottlenose dolphin populations within the UK. It was great to go out on their research trips to study these animals, and others, to learn about monitoring techniques. Years passed, but in 2019 I re-connected with them and not long after became their regional coordinator for South Wales. The role includes acting as a point of contact for volunteers wanting to get involved in monitoring cetaceans, encouraging sightings to be submitted to Sea Watch and organising watches over their national event ‘Whale and Dolphin Watch’ every summer. Last year, I also helped them with some short films promoting their important citizen science and educational projects. 

Can you tell us about the film you’re working on? Spotting orca in Scotland sounds incredible. 

One of the projects that Sea Watch organises every year is called Orca Watch. It’s a 10 day citizen science event involving volunteers to monitor orca, and other marine wildlife, from areas of northern Scotland and surrounding islands. I am working with a brilliant film maker to capture the heart of this event including the many citizen scientists that get involved, the amazing marine wildlife in Scotland and the Sea Watch Foundation’s wider work. This trip holds deeper meaning for me too. The only orca I have ever seen was in captivity when I went to SeaWorld with an ex and his family almost 20 years ago. If I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t fully aware of the utter cruelty of the industry I was supporting at the time and now I would love to see an orca in it’s natural environment, living free in the wild. Unfortunately, for a second year the event has moved online due to covid, but we hope to come back even more determined in 2022! And, let’s hope that we do see orca, as they are after all a wild animal! 

Your work is so extensive! Can you describe to us a particular career highlight?

It would have to be when I dragged, (well I say dragged, but there were no real complaints!) my husband and two year old son to Hong Kong and Australia for a secondment with the Australian Marine Conservation Society in 2016. I was born in Australia and wanted to get a feel for living and working there. I helped with community campaigning for a marine park in Sydney and travelled up to the head office in Brisbane to support the team in their plastic litter messaging. It wasn’t all about work and there was lots of time with the family too, as well as surfing and diving, where I was really lucky to see the incredible weedy seadragon – I couldn’t take my eyes off it! The time went way too quick but was an amazing personal and professional experience and one that my son, who’s now 6, still remembers parts of – particularly the massive spiders! He wants to go back one day, which I know we will. 

You also create Youtube videos and run talks at science festivals about the work that you do. What’s your main reason for educating people about marine conservation and wildlife?

I love everything about the ocean – being on it, in it and near it. The ocean is important for so many reasons, and holds some incredible life, yet I often find that engagement of wildlife for adults can be skewed towards the land. The ocean really is out of sight, out of mind, but it seems that we have to see it to believe in it and to care. I think it’s like anything in life, that if you haven’t experienced something, then it can be very difficult to connect with. That’s why I love sharing my love for all things marine and showing others the huge diversity of life that’s out there and how people can help to keep it that way. I am currently putting together a piece all about Jellyfish which will be out on my Youtube channel soon. 

Before you worked for MCS you worked with kids running Rock Pool Rambles which we love, as it sounds very similar to our Beach School programme. Now you write for a science and tech magazine called How It Works, aimed at children and young people. Can you tell us why you think it’s important that kids and young adults learn about science and nature?

I love rock pooling! It’s one of my favourite things to do. I find it incredible the amount of programmes now aimed at young children that teach them all about wildlife and the ocean. I can only remember one programme when I was little and even that wasn’t very marine focused! Information just wasn’t very accessible at all. My son knows more about marine wildlife than I ever did at his age, which I’m so proud of and I hope I’ve played a part in that. 

And we must keep this going – the more information and facts that children and young adults have, the more informed and inspired they are going to feel about wildlife and the need to protect it with more open minds. I have worked in marine litter conservation for a long time, so my son has naturally grown up around it, and even has a better attitude towards litter and recycling than my parents! 

It’s so much fun writing for ‘How it Works’ and bringing marine creatures and topics to life. I have written about the amazing life of rays, how sperm whales can dive so deep, exploring rocky shores, shape shifting cuttlefish and I’m about to write one on the weird and wonderful Blobfish! Go and check them out.

Can you give us any information on the book you’re planning on writing this year?! 

Writing a book has been a real dream of mine for a while but for a long time I didn’t think that I was good enough to do it, particularly after a few dead ends. However, there have been a few developments this year that I can’t talk about yet, but hope to soon – so watch this space!

Lastly, did you learn anything from the uncertain times of 2020 that has changed the way you live? 

There isn’t anything really big that stands out – like I said, I’ve been really fortunate over lockdowns, but I guess what I did realise is how important it is to take each day as it comes, rather than always looking towards what’s next all the time – I’m such a planner! 

Follow Lauren on Instagram to see more of what she’s up to.

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