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.