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.

Standard

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.

Standard

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. 

Standard

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! 

Standard

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.

Standard

Plastic and Climate Change

No. More. Rubbish. Excuses. was written by our Founder and CEO, Martin Dorey. It looks at ways we can reduce our waste. It also discusses why we must do it now. This blog, pulled from the pages of Martin’s book, focuses on the correlation between plastic and climate change and what we can do as individuals to help save the planet. 

Ever since the #2minutebeachclean became a thing, in 2013, I’ve been wondering how big the plastic crisis would become. First it was how plastic affected my local beach, tourism and our health and wellbeing locally. Next it was how plastic affects wildlife. Then it was how plastic affects our food. Now it’s about how plastic affects our climate. 

Once you understand the scale of it, you can start to put the pieces in place to make up the bigger picture. And that’s when things start to get more than a little frightening. If you’re anything like me, however, you won’t give up. You’ll allow this information to fuel the fire of resolve, because to do anything else would be to admit defeat.

PLASTIC: THE BIGGER PICTURE

  • Plastic is just one small part of our planet’s problems
  • Plastic is a symptom of mass consumerism
  • Consumerism is using up resources at a massive rate
  • Plastic creates climate change emissions at every stage in its life cycle
  • Transporting plastic waste creates climate emissions
  • Plastic is climate change
  • We need to stop depending on plastic.

In May 2019 the Center for International Environmental Law released a report – the first of its kind that deals with plastic and climate change – that suggested plastic, throughout its lifecycle, could contribute up to 10-13% of the global carbon dioxide budget by 2050.

According to the report, the production and incineration of plastic in 2019 was due to produce more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is equal to the emissions from 189 five-hundred-megawatt coal power plants working at full capacity.

By 2050, they say, if production continues as predicted (and planned) the amount will increase to the equivalent of 615 Coal Plants, producing 2.80 Gt of greenhouse gasses.

Plastic refining, the report says, is among the most greenhouse gas-intensive industries in the manufacturing sector – and the fastest growing, with the manufacture of plastic is being both energy intense and emissions intensive in its own right, producing significant emissions through the chemical refining processes.

Great! How could we have ignored that? We’ve been so concerned with the oceans that we’ve forgotten, almost, the impact of it all, before it’s even got to the ocean.

What this means is that it’s more, much more than just entangled seals and dolphins.

The report from CIEL follows on from a different report, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2018, that researchers had discovered, unexpectedly, that the most common plastics, when exposed to sunlight, produce the greenhouse gases methane and ethylene. Polyethylene (LDPE), used in shopping bags, is the most produced and discarded synthetic polymer globally and was found to be the most prolific emitter of both gases.

The team also found that “the emission rate of the gases from virgin pellets of LDPE increased during a 212-day experiment” and that “LDPE debris found in the ocean also emitted greenhouse gases when exposed to sunlight.”

The study also raised concerns about microplastic disabling the ocean’s ability to absorb carbon. At the surface, microscopic plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) transfer carbon to the deep ocean. “These plankton are being contaminated with microplastics and microfibres, which lab tests suggest reduce their ability to fix carbon through photosynthesis, perhaps also reducing their metabolic rates, reproductive success and survival rates.”

So if you ever needed a reason to choose natural fibres over nylon, carry a water bottle or refuse a straw this is it. And while it might seem to be too big or too difficult an issue to solve, it is one that we CAN do something about.

WHY PLASTIC IS THE PERFECT ECO MISSION

Reading all this, and the rest of this book, you might be forgiven for thinking that the world’s problems are insurmountable. You might not be able to replant the rainforests or refreeze the arctic tundra. But you can tackle plastic in your own life. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s real and it’s tangible and you can do something about it. Right here, right now. 

There’s no need to feel helpless either, because you’ll be able to see how much of what you do matters. It’s our problem and we have to fix it. And, in fixing it, we’ll help to solve all kinds of other problems too. 

Good luck.

And thank you for making a start. Now the real work begins.

  1. Recycle more.
  2. Eat sustainably caught fish.
  3. Eat less meat.
  4. Cook more and avoid pre-packaged meals.
  5. Buy clothes second hand or ethical, in natural materials.
  6. Get outside and enjoy nature more. It’s free.
  7. Spend your money on experiences, not things.
  8. Buy, if you must buy, from ethical businesses. But question its integrity first.
  9. Buy local, fresh, sustainable and packaging free, if you can.
  10. Understand how much of what you do matters. It does.

NO MORE EXCUSES?

REDIRECT YOUR INVESTMENTS: If you have any kind of savings, investments or pensions, they may, ultimately, invest in fossil fuels and, by association, the plastics industry, so supporting them in their work. By divesting from these kinds of industries you can help to pull the rug from underneath them, remove part of their funding and send a very clear message that you do not condone their practices.

Has this article has awakened your inner eco-activist and you’d like to know more? You can buy Martin’s book No. More. Rubbish. Excuses. from our Beach Clean Shop by clicking here. Now is the time to act, not the time for excuses!  

Standard

The Facts About Food Waste

No. More. Rubbish. Excuses. is written by Martin Dorey. As the Founder of The 2 Minute Foundation he knows how important it is to reduce our waste and to do it now. In a series of blogs we will be looking at the stats and solutions that he shared in his book. It’s time to reassess the way we live, shop and eat to help save the planet. It only takes 2 minutes! 

We don’t like waste

Each year in Europe we produce over 88 million tonnes of food waste. Annually, in the UK alone, this works out at 7.1 million tonnes. 

British supermarkets create around 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste a year, mostly through the transportation of food. 

Every year, agriculture produces around 135,500 tonnes of plastic waste in the UK, notwithstanding plastic packaging. That’s around 1.5% of the total waste stream in England. 

According to the UN, 20% of meat production, which is the equivalent of around 75 million cows, is wasted annually across the globe. 

An early analysis of data from our Beach Clean app notes that up to 34% of plastic waste found on the beaches was from the fishing industry. 

But what can be done about all this wasted food and plastic? Often there are small, planet-positive changes that we can make as individuals (a #2minutesolution) that will make a big difference. Below we’re going to dissect the facts stated above and describe the ways in which you can help. 

Food waste 

Statistics show that we throw away one fifth of all food we buy! Most of this ends up in landfill. What a waste. 

Here’s how we can help mitigate this:

  • Compost! Instead of chucking food waste in the bin, compost it. It’s good for the planet and a much better use of your left-over veggies and peelings. If you don’t have the option to compost at home there are often food waste caddies provided by the local council.
  • Don’t buy more than you need! Shop from your local butchers, bakers and grocers little and often, minimising your waste and keeping your fridge fresh. 
  • Tins and dried food can be donated to your local food banks.

Supermarket waste 

The food industry, together with the supermarkets, is responsible for a huge amount of plastic waste. This comes from the packaging used to store and transport food, plus the plastic that is used in production. 

Cut the plastic out by shopping locally. It isn’t always as easy as a flying visit to the supermarket, but the earth, the local economy and the local businesses will thank you for it. You’ll get produce that is grown in your area, therefore minimising your food’s carbon footprint and cutting out the packaging. You’ll also be helping the local economy and businesses in your area thrive, instead of lining the pockets of the supermarket giants. 

Another thing to consider when shopping are your bags. The plastic bag charge, which was introduced in the UK in October 2015, is credited with an 86% drop in the numbers of plastic bags given out at supermarket tills. Result! Let’s stamp out the use of plastic bags entirely by taking along our backpacks, using reusable cloth bags and stashing our shop in cardboard boxes that we’ll use over and over before eventually recycling. 

Agriculture waste 

Have you ever noticed the rows and rows of plastic wrap lining the fields in growing season? These are mulches. For a number of reasons, farmers use tonnes and tonnes of it by laying it on fields in strips then piercing holes in the plastic for the plants to grow through. An article about mulches in China in July 2019 from Reuters quoted a figure of 2 to 3 million tonnes of plastic mulches being used in the country every year, with only 180,000 tonnes of it being recycled. Where does the rest go? It’ll get burnt, sent to landfill or ploughed back into the soil, degrading it. Scarily, the same article said that traces of plastic have been found in Chinese exports of ginger and spinach. 

The solution? Other than buying locally, why not try growing your own? Lots of veggies thrive in the British summertime and if you plant them from seed it’s really cheap too. Better yet, you can leave veg on the plant until you need it. Beans and tomatoes are a lot happier (and stay fresh for longer) when they are quietly growing on their vines instead of stashed in plastic at the bottom of your fridge. If you don’t have much space why not try growing a herb garden? You don’t need to be green fingered, they’ll sprout in window boxes and you can dry them out at the end of the summer and save it for the colder months. No garden but keen to try your hand at growing this year? See if there’s an available allotment near you by clicking here.

Meat waste 

We, the consumer, are responsible for a quarter of the 20% of meat production that is wasted annually across the world. As we said above, 20% is equivalent to 75 MILLION cows! Have we become so detached from our food that we have forgotten where meat comes from and consider it acceptable to throw it away?

We’re not saying you have to turn veggie or vegan, we’re just asking you to be more conscientious of where your meat comes from. Battery-farmed, mass-produced meat is killing our planet. It’s bad for the environment, it’s awful for the animals, it’s unhealthy for our bodies and it can’t be ignored. Make a substantial effort to choose free range, happy meat and dairy, buy from your local butcher and village shop, reassess your meat consumption and don’t waste a morsel! 

Fishing waste 

The fishing industry is a main contributor to the marine plastic crisis. It is estimated that 10% of the world’s ocean plastic pollution is compromised of fishing nets that are lost or discarded at sea, adding up to around 640,000 tonnes. These nets are known as ‘ghost nets’ because they keep on fishing long after they have been lost (or deliberately dropped), killing hundreds of thousands of birds, mammals and fish every year through entanglement. 

Bottom trawling is a method of fishing that involves dragging heavy weighted nets across the sea floor. This is particularly damaging as it destroys everything in its path and catches everything indiscriminately. The mesh is small, which means undersized and immature fish are caught before they have a chance to breed, therefore destroying the line. 

We need to give the oceans a chance to recover. If you don’t want to give up eating fish entirely then make sure you do your research. Find out where and how your fish was caught. If there’s no good answer, don’t eat it.

Better yet, go fishing yourself or make sure it’s locally line caught. 

If you’d like to read about food and food waste in more depth, check out our Founder Martin Dorey’s book No. More. Rubbish. Excuses. As well as food and food waste, the book also looks at plastic and plastic alternatives, clothing and textiles, electronic equipment and using your voice. You can buy the book from our Beach Clean Shop by clicking here.

Standard

Friends of 2 Minute: Claire Moodie

This week we spoke to Claire Moodie, Co-Founder and CEO at Plastic Free North Devon. In the few short years that the charity has been active Claire and her team have rallied invaluable change and action amongst their local community and further afield. 

Read on to find out about their campaigns and plans… 

Hi Claire, thanks for chatting to us! We are really interested in how everything’s going at Plastic Free North Devon. Let’s start at the beginning. When and how did you become a charity? 

We set up as a community group in 2017 off the back of Blue Planet 2 and when a few super stars in our community aligned. A local teacher, Desiree Young, had just set up a little facebook group to share plastic free tips, after being inspired by her sister who had set up ‘Plastic free Guernsey’. Myself and James Szymankiewicz had been long standing reps for Surfers Against Sewage and had been handed their brand new ‘plastic free communities’ toolkit and were on a mission to roll it out in North Devon. We teamed up with Des and Jasmine Bennett from the Pickwell Foundation who were also super passionate about using their role to kickstart this movement. Our little group was formed!

It didn’t take long for us to meet the steps of the SAS framework in some of our communities and more people flocked to offer help and ideas to build on our efforts. We were balled over by passion and energy that came at us and we saw a real opportunity to drive forward with our own agenda and started seeking direct funding to do so. By early 2019 we had succeeded in becoming our own charity driven directly by the needs of our local community.

Were you affected by the pandemic? Did you innovate and launch any campaigns off the back of lockdown?

Yes. Like everyone it was a tough and long year for us as a charity with some touch and go moments but we made it through by adapting and trying to support our community as much as we could.

One of the things we did was quickly start a #looklocal campaign. Every day for about 2 and a half months we profiled a different local business and their services. The campaign called on people to use these unprecedented times to look up and around at what we are lucky enough to have right on our doorstep. It was really well received and we now have a comprehensive list of local producers and services on our website for people to reference.

After witnessing the rise in rubbish on our streets, parks and beaches when lockdown was lifted over the summer we launched our ‘Don’t even think about it’ poster and information campaign which we piloted within Braunton Tesco. The idea behind this campaign was two pronged: think about the life cycle and quality of any items you purchase, such as inflatables, BBQs or bodyboards and food purchased for picnics, and make sure they are not irresponsibly left in the environment.

We also led the pulling together of the ‘Norther Devon visualisation’ survey with local district councils and partners. This revealed fascinating information about how the pandemic has changed some people’s lifestyles and their views on issues like the environment and their quality of life. The information collected has been used to bolster and support projects going forward.

Overall, people wanted a peaceful, sustainable community where they have more time to do the things they love in a new calmer, safer, greener, kinder and healthier environment – not too much to ask!

In January this year, fresh into 2021, we launched our online ‘cleanse and clean’ campaign which called on the community to get out in nature (jump in the ocean, get out on your bike, go for a run) and then finish your activity by giving back, for example, by picking up some rubbish. We knew from our survey that people were appreciating wildlife more and wanted to spend more of their free time outside. We also knew that being outdoors hugely benefits our mental health. With over 85% of survey respondents stating that they were interested in supporting wildlife and the environment, this was a perfect way to get stuck in.

We also launched our ‘Protect our Playground’ initiative last summer which aimed to reduce plastic pollution on our beaches by reducing demand for plastic beach toys. The initial stage was all about reducing the increasing amount of cheap polystyrene boards we find on our beaches during the height of summer. We launched a pilot hire project at Saunton Surf Hire to help raise awareness, provide alternatives to EPS boards and help generate some income for charity.

What campaigns have you got lined up for the summer months in North Devon? Obviously the influx of visitors can often lead to more litter…

Yes, unfortunately the influx of over 6 million visitors every year certainly leads to more issues and we have been trying to combat some of these through our evolving visitors campaign, which is now in its third year. We’ve created all sorts of resources for accommodation providers and visitors to use which encourage guests to ‘protect our playground’ whilst they are here. We point out that they are entering a UNESCO Biosphere area and the North Devon area of outstanding beauty and give visitors simple tips on how they can reduce their environmental footprint whilst they are here.

We are also building on our already successful virtual reality ocean explorer outreach! This involves developing our own 360 video footage of some of the amazing things on our doorstep to improve understanding, inspire people to protect what’s here and seek to learn more. Think diving with seals on Lundy and exploring rocky shores! We also hope to take some local teenagers from low-income/vulnerable backgrounds to snorkel and explore the island for themselves, volunteer with us during our summer outreach and share their experience with their peers – I’m very very excited about this!

Our #donteventhinkaboutit campaign is expanding to include all Tesco stores across North Devon and we are working with NDC to roll out some additional messaging that will be placed on all public litter bins across our region. Our wooden bodyboard hire is also growing to include more hire locations and we are encouraging holiday home owners as part of our visitor campaign to purchase them for their guests so they don’t have to buy one.

We will hopefully get our Water Bar out to a few sporting and community events and be running our usual community cleans too.

Tell us about the wooden bodyboards! We are also really interested to know more about your campaign to ban polystyrene bodyboards nationwide. 

The best thing about our wooden belly-boards is the messaging and the collaborative lobbying it has led too. Not only did we want to see better alternatives on offer but we wanted to see the cheap single-use bodyboards gone from our shops and beaches. We started by calling on all the local parishes and district councillors to support a ban. Motions were passed, letters have been written to supermarkets (Tesco will not be selling them in North Devon) and shops in towns and villages have agreed to stop selling them. Westward Ho! was the 1st place to announce a ban with Saunton following suit. We are working our way around the coast, so watch this space. And we aren’t stopping there! Our UK government petition to get the sale of them banned has increasing cross-party support and over 5000 signatures so far and we hope to get this issue discussed in parliament. Please sign if you haven’t done so already: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/574016. If you want to do a similar thing in your own area we have a toolkit to get you started. Just ask. 

As we settle into the ‘new normal’, is there anything you’d personally encourage others to do differently this year?

Be mindful, connect with the things that you buy and take responsibility in understanding how food turns up on your plate, clothes end up in your wardrobe and how much waste you create.

Choose to actively consider and be conscious of your impact on the planet and take steps to reduce it where you can. We are crew, not passengers, on this planet and we are all environmentalists – some of us are better and more equipped than others, and the playing field is by no stretch level, but we are all on a journey. Don’t get overwhelmed by what you can’t do and focus on what you can do. Look after your brain and body, get outside as much as you can and find like-minded people to share it with.

Can you tell us more about the ‘Cleanse and Clean’ campaign? It sounds a little bit like our mindfulness initiative, #2minutesofpositivity. 

Yes it is exactly that. Your #2minutebeachclean combined with #2minutesofpositivity seems like a good way to sum it up. It was originally supposed to be a series of beach cleans across the region over the month of January, but the pandemic forced us into only being able to focus on the individual element. Uptake from adults was quite slow (not everyone likes sharing their efforts on social media) but we introduced a competition/prize element for the kids and got all the local schools involved. We had over 200 entries in just over a month, clearing a ton and half of rubbish from our environment. We had the most amazing little stories and mini bios from kids telling us why they were doing it. It really lifted us up and gave us some inspiration and energy to push through the last of the serious lockdowns (fingers crossed) which we are incredibly grateful for.

What small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face? #2minutesofpositivity 

GET OUTSIDE, listen to the birds, and have some fun (preferably surfing or swimming) but if I can’t do that a skate around my local carpark will do (yes I’ve turned into an embarrassing skating middle aged mum – I don’t care!). Nothing connects me more with myself and the planet than being in the sea. It gives me the space to breathe and clears my brain but most of all it connects me with our precious mother earth and all that she gives and reminds me that she needs ALL of us to speak up and act in her interest.

To find out more about Plastic Free North Devon click here to visit their website.

Standard

Revisiting the Reset

In September 2020 we launched the 2 Minute Reset campaign, an initiative prompting you to get back into the swing of things, find what your ‘new normal’ looks like and persuade you to partake in planet positive actions. Our reset campaign ran throughout September 2020 and everyday we shared a #2minutesolution, a sustainable and simple action, to help you lead a more eco-friendly life. This blog will refresh those suggestions in your mind as they are just as important now as they were then. Every small act makes a huge difference and together we can help make the world a better place. 

Use a refillable bottle

If you pick up litter you’ll have seen firsthand the amount of water bottles that end up on our beaches and streets. Single-use plastic is detrimental to ecosystems and wildlife. It is estimated that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used every day in the UK, but only 30% of them are recycled. The rest go to landfill and sadly end up in our oceans too. But we have a solution! Invest in a reusable, refillable water bottle and top it up wherever you go. Download the ‘Refill’ App on your phone. It shows you where you can find water fountains and free water refills stations in your area, plus coffee shops that offer discount when you bring your own cup. 

Do a pencil case audit

Schools are back, some work places are set to open up and work-from-home is more popular than ever. If you’re treating yourself to new stationary consider the sustainable options before the standard single use stuff. Plastic pens like biros run out quickly, are very hard to recycle and often end up on the beach. Why not purchase a classic fountain pen and ink, plus pencils, metal sharpener and a metal ruler? They’ll last way longer than the plastic kit. Looking for a new pencil case? See if you can find one made out of recycled materials; we’ve spotted them made from wetsuits, car tyres and crisp packets! 

Green lunchboxes

To start with, grab a reusable lunch box instead of a plastic bag. BPA free containers are great and metal ones are awesome too. Then, consider what’s going inside it. Fruit is perfect. Bake your own biscuits and ditch the plastic. Cut the plastic cutlery and pack metal or bamboo forks instead. Wrap your sandwiches in bee’s wax wrap instead of clingfilm. Top it all off with a refillable bottle of water or juice instead of Tetrapacks and cartons. Lunch box bingo! 

Grab your shopping bags

It’s obvious that the single-use plastic bag tax is working really well, so let’s keep it that way! Take your reusable grocery bags to the shops and avoid the single-use ones forever! Who’s with us?

Protect yourself

Chances are we will be wearing masks for a long time to come. Therefore, it’s integral that we choose an eco-option. Reusable, washable options are readily available and will stop millions of single-use masks from being thrown away. Plus, they come in loads of cute patterns too. 

Keep your cup 

If we all used a reusable coffee cup we’d save 16 billion non-recyclable cups being used every year. We’d stop 6.5 million trees being cut down. We’d stop 4 billion gallons of water being used in the production process. Due to the current Covid-19 situation some takeaway coffee shops have been avoiding reusable coffee cups. Environmental charity City to Sea have done the research and released a statement saying: “Over 115 health experts from eighteen countries have signed a statement assuring retailers and consumers that reusables are safe during COVID-19. The health experts emphasise that disposable products are not inherently safer than reusables and that reusable systems can be utilised safely during the pandemic by employing basic hygiene.” Great news. 

Straws suck

Statistics show that 4.4 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the U.K. each year. Ew. Don’t be part of the statistic. Simply ask for your drink without one, or invest in a reusable one and carry it with you. You’ll find straws made from glass, metal, bamboo and even recycled marine plastic! In the words of Martin Dorey, No. More. Rubbish. Excuses!

Party on

Parties! Who remembers those?! Well, hopefully we’ll be dancing and chatting in a room full of friends soon, so let’s try and make our parties as sustainable as possible. Steer away from balloons, plastic cups, disposable cutlery and plastic party bags, and get creative instead! Make decorations that you’ll use over and over, shop for party bag fillers in refill shops (instead of buying lots of plastic packets of sweets) and wrap up pass the parcel presents in newspaper, then chuck it in the recycling when you’re finished.  

Read your tea

Did you know that lots of tea bags contain plastic? Therefore, they aren’t actually always compostable… Go back to basics. Buy some loose leaf tea and a strainer. Or check tea bag boxes before buying as they normally state if they are plastic free, after all, it’s something to be proud of! 

Go Local 

Shopping with your local butchers, bakers and greengrocers is a great way to cut down on plastic packaging. You’ll also be supporting your local community and cutting down on food miles. At your local waste-free shop you can take your own containers. It often works out cheaper and you might even become a zero-waste convert!

Quality, not quantity 

Here’s a fact for you: every person in the UK has, on average, 57 items of clothing in their wardrobe that don’t get worn. Every single one of us! Bypass Fast Fashion (and the petrochemical based man-made fibres that come with it) and opt into buying only sustainable clothing from now on, whilst donating or selling your unworn clothes too.

Walk it off

If it’s within a half an hour walk, why not leave the car at home? It’s really good for your mental and physical health to get outside and active, so instead of driving why not hop on your bike, pull on your roller-blades, dust off your skate board or grab some comfy shoes and walk instead. You’ll be doing yourself and the earth a world of good. 

Planet positive pearly whites 

Did you know that on average you’ll use 300 toothbrushes in your lifetime? To make matters even worse, probably only about 2 of them will be successfully recycled whilst the rest end up in landfill or our oceans. Try using a bamboo toothbrush instead (the handle is biodegradable!), or buy your electric toothbrush heads from one of the several brands that now have a take-back recycling scheme.

Do a bin audit

Go on, put on your marigolds and have a good ol’ root around! We think its worth doing this every year, or even twice a year, as it really helps highlight any areas of your consumption that may have developed some bad habits. Lots of food wrappers? Go to your local greengrocers. Black plastic trays? Take your own Tupperware to the butcher. Too much postal packaging? Give up your internet habits and buy locally (and save all the carbon from the van too!). Give it a go and you’ll soon find another simple swap to try out to make your footprint on the earth even smaller. 

We miss the milkman! 

In the U.K. we drink BILLIONS of litres of milk every year, which in turn come in BILLIONS of plastic bottles. If even 10% of us switched to a glass bottled service, we would reduce the number of plastic milk bottles by over 340 MILLION!

Shake up your shower

There are loads of plastic free alternatives for your favourite bathroom products. Plastic free deodorant, shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste are all readily available and will wash you just as well! We love shampoo bars, glass jars of natural toothpaste and eco-floss. 

Spread the word! 

Half of the challenge is making the changes yourself, the other half is getting everyone else to do it too! Spread the word by telling your work colleagues about your awesome new lunch box, remind your friends about when the milkman was a thing and point your family in the direction of this blog! Together we can make the world a better place. 

Our three favourite R’s

First of all, reduce. Do you really need that? If you need it, and now it’s finished, can you reuse it? It’s been reused to within an inch of it’s life (or it can’t be repurposed at all) so now it’s time to recycle. Make sure it’s clean (and recyclable) and pop it in the right bag or bin! 

Plastic free periods

Tampons, pads and panty liners, along with their packaging and individual wrapping, generate more than 200,000 tonnes of waste per year. To make matters worse, in 2010, a beach clean study found an average of 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline. Ew, no thanks! Make the swap to reusable menstrual products such as period pants or a Mooncup and save a lifetime of period plastic from ending up where it shouldn’t. Check out 2 Minute friend and period campaigner Ella Daish for more info and inspiration. 

Download our BeachClean App

Our BeachClean App is a way for you to log the litter you find. Through the data we collect we are able to see trends and correlations, therefore helping us to minimise and prevent littering in highly polluted areas! You can download the App by searching BEACHCLEAN on the App Store. Let us know what you think! 

Seek out the alternative 

So many items nowadays come wrapped in plastic packaging. However, so many places now offer an alternative too. Try to buy things that are unwrapped or come in paper, you’ll be surprised by how many options there are if you simply look a little further afield. 

Bigger is better

Not everybody is lucky enough to have a zero waste shop in their local area but there is still so much you can do to help reduce your plastic footprint, even in your regular supermarket. Buy bigger bags of stuff like pasta, rice and flour. You’ll not only save money but you will end up with less plastic packaging too. Oil, toiletries, snacks and cheeses are the same. Shop smart and go BIG! 

The 2 Minute Catch Up

Our newsletter drops into inboxes every Saturday morning and is always packed full of #2minutesolutions, positive stories and information from HQ. Click here to sign up and keep in the loop with everything 2 Minute! 

Plant a Tree

Our #2minuteregeneration challenge is well underway. We are crowdfunding a forest! If your saplings have started sprouting we’d love to see your snaps, and if you haven’t got involved yet it’s not too late! Spring is a great time to sow seeds and the more the merrier at our planting party! 

Don’t be a loo-ser 

Seek out eco-friendly toilet paper and help save the planet one flush at a time! Lots of companies make it out of recycled paper and supply their loo roll in cardboard boxes or paper wrapping instead of plastic bags. Be kind to the planet and choose a greener option for your bum! 

Do a 2 Minute Litter Pick

Let’s get right back to the 2 Minute roots! Head outside and do a litter pick. On the beach, in the park, down the street, up a mountain – every single time you pick up a piece of litter you are directly contributing to cleaning up our planet, 2 minutes at a time. So thank you! 

We hope some of these ideas will help you make small, sustainable changes, resulting in a more eco-conscious lifestyle. If you try any we’d love to see. Tag us on social media using #2minutesolution and @2minutesolution. Plus, if you have any extra ideas of your own, please let us know too! 

Standard

Friends of 2 Minute: Jen Gale

Jen Gale is your everyday working mum crossed with an eco-warrior and author with a firm hold on what’s realistic. She doesn’t think you have to be the picture of perfection when it comes to being green and believes that absolutely anyone can make small changes to help save the world. We couldn’t agree more. 

Find out about all the things she’s been up to (think online festivals, book launches and podcasts plus more) by reading on. 

Hey Jen! How was 2020 for you? Did you launch anything exciting in the midst of the pandemic?

Hello! 2020 was a weird one to say the least!


I think, like many of us, I spent the first month after lockdown trying to get my head around what was happening. It also felt like a really difficult time in the ‘eco space’ – to know what to talk about or whether it was even appropriate to still be speaking about environmental issues and concerns when the world had been turned upside down.


I spent April really struggling, but after seeing a friend run an online festival around redundancy, I wondered if I could do the same for my audience. I wasn’t sure if there would be an appetite for it or if people would be too consumed with Covid and not have the headspace to think about anything else. Luckily it turned out that there was an appetite! Within 2 weeks I pulled together the Sustainable(ish) Online Festival – a week of 40 talks, workshops and panel discussions with over 60 contributors and 2500 people taking part. It was phenomenal and saw so much action as a result. It was definitely the highlight of my lockdown. I still get messages today telling me about the things that people have done and made happen because of it.


I was also one of those irritating people who managed to write a book during lockdown. I signed the contract for my second book – The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting – as the first lockdown hit with a deadline of mid June. It’s being published this month which is hugely exciting!
I ran the first ever Knackered Mums on (Eco) Tour in August, a free 5 day challenge for knackered mums (and other knackered types) with 15 easy eco actions. Over 600 people took part, with a carbon saving of over 60 tonnes of CO2 over the 5 days – safe to say that blew me away! Off the back of the tour I launched the Knackered Mums Eco Club, my new membership club, which now has over 140 amazing women on board who inspire and motivate me everyday with their actions and support of each other. 

Can you tell us about when you first starting becoming aware of our environmental impact and wanting to do something to help?

I always used to think I was pretty green but I, slightly randomly, decided to spend a year buying nothing new as a family in 2012/13. I think prior to this I was somehow subconsciously looking away from a lot of environmental issues and hadn’t joined the dots at all between our own consumption and the climate crisis. It was an amazing experience and one that totally changed my life. I understand it’s pretty overwhelming to start to face up to the realities of what’s happening to the planet and very easy to feel powerless and hopeless. The year made me realise the power of my choices, the power of my voice, and the responsibility that I have to make better choices more of the time, when and where I can.

What was the first thing you did to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

I’m not sure what sparked it because this was well before our year of buying nothing new, but I bought a Mooncup (reusable menstrual cup) when my periods came back after the birth of our eldest. It took a bit of getting used to, but I haven’t used a disposable menstrual product since, saving thousands of items from landfill!

We love the ‘sustainable(ish)’ concept! The 2 Minute Foundation is all about small actions making big differences. Tell us about ‘imperfect eco-action’. 


I feel like the ‘ish’ is so important. Someone commented on one of my posts recently, saying that they found themselves in tears during one of the Festival sessions last year realising that they didn’t have to make perfect choices. Imperfect eco-action gives us permission to get it wrong, to compromise and to find out what works for us and our family. Therefore it makes it so much easier to get started!


There’s a brilliant quote by Anne Marie Bonneau (aka the Zero Waste Chef) that says “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly,” and the same applies to all areas of sustainable living. 

How did it feel to turn everything you’d learnt over the years into The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide? Can you tell us about your new book, The Sustainable(ish) Guide to Green Parenting, too?


Writing the books has been a dream come true. I used to be a vet, so have a science background, but I rediscovered my love of writing when I blogged about our year buying nothing new. It’s been challenging though too, to push through the imposter syndrome – the ‘who am I to write a book?’ feelings. After all, I’m not an expert, but I hope that that is part of the appeal. I’m just an ordinary knackered mum and if I can do it, so can you!


The new book is, as you can tell from the title, aimed at parents. There are 7 chapters from pre-baby through to the teenage years and I hope that there’s something there for everyone. I am painfully aware of how much pressure we are all under as parents, especially after the last year, so it very much majors on the imperfect action; picking one thing, making a start, having a go. There’s no guilt or judgement or pressure to be perfectly green. I don’t think there is actually such a thing as perfectly green! It’s packed with ideas at each stage for swaps and easy changes we can make to help reduce our own impact and try to bring the rest of the family along for the ride.

Did the podcast spring up naturally after you’d written your blog and first book? Who’s featured on it so far? 

The podcast started about two years ago before the book was on the horizon. I think I’m inherently nosy and I LOVE chatting to people and hearing about all the amazing things they’re doing. There are so many people out there, quietly getting on and doing their thing to make the world a better place. I wanted to be able to, in my own small way, give them another platform to share their stories on. 


The 2 Minute Foundation’s very own Martin Dorey has been on, as well as Sian Berry – co-leader of the Green Party, Tessa Clarke – co-founder of Olio, Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, and chef and author Melissa Hemsley. It’s been amazing to have the opportunity to speak to so many inspirational people. I think one of my favourite episodes was when we had a virtual coffee morning with some of the Knackered Mums from the Club. It’s so important to share the message that us ‘ordinary types’ can also change the world and that we don’t need a huge social media following to do it! 

You may have heard of our #2minutesofpositivity campaign, which launched during the first lockdown back in March 2020 – what small thing do you do each day to put a smile on your face?

Tea is my absolute essential to keep me functioning. Walking the dog has also helped to keep me sane during lockdown and we’re lucky to live somewhere we can easily get out into the countryside. 


One of the things that never fails to make me to smile is to head over to the Knackered Mums Eco Clubhouse on Facebook and read about the changes they are making and seeing the love and support they have for each other. It’s genuinely life affirming and like having our own team of cheerleaders!

Any parting words of wisdom for our 2 Minute Tribe?

Never let anyone tell you that individual actions don’t make a difference. We are more powerful than we know – embrace the power of your choices and your voices. You DO make a difference.

If you’d like to find out more about Jen Gale, join the Knackered Mums Eco Club or check out her books, head over to Jen’s website by clicking here.

Standard