The plastic fight-back is gaining momentum, Charlotte Harding talks to a Seaford mum wanting to make a difference.
From CBeebies kids programme Go Jetters to broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough both are doing their bit to highlight the impact single use plastic has on the environment.
“By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans by weight than fish which will see sea levels rise,” reveals Claire Sumners the Zero Waste Maman.
“I do it because of my emotional response but I like facts so I have facts to back myself up and to highlight what could happen.”
When Claire had her son Jack three and a half years ago, she also has a daughter Matilda who is two, she saw herself as a ‘kind of custodian of the planet’ and felt she had to do something.
“In my 20s I lived in London and I recycled but I would think nothing of buying take-away lunches or bottles of water,” she reveals.
“In my 30s I volunteered for a number of people including Surfers Against Sewage. Then I had my children and it was the usual cliche that they change the way you think and change your life in so many ways. It made me want to do more.”
Zero Waste Maman started on Facebook and was a place for her to share tips with others.
“When I started looking at going zero waste I assessed each room and the changes I could make,” she explains.
“I am still on my journey though, I would say I’m about 80 per cent zero waste, we are when it comes to food but there are some things I still haven’t changed such as my mascara and perfume, but I make my own exfoliator and cleaning products.”
Claire adds that the bathroom is a good place to start when it comes to assessing your plastic consumption.
“It has the most amount of plastic, from the bottles for shampoo, conditioner, soaps, bubble baths and face wash,” she says.
“We need to challenge manufacturers about the plastic disease and the best way consumers can do that is by using the pound as a weapon and shopping elsewhere.
“It is the only way to make them look at plastic and what they are doing.”
Other tips is buying items in tins or glass jars which are more widely recycled, as different councils recycle different plastics.
As a mum another area that she reassessed was baby products.
“You think everything has to be sterile when you have a baby but I realised how many baby wipes and nappies I was using which was just going to landfill,” she explains.
“So I switched to re-useable nappies, they are expensive at first but then you have them until they are toddlers.
“I make my own wipes using flannels I have cut up with water and some essential oils.
“The key when you are a parent is to be organised and plan ahead. Some say they don’t have the time but when you think about it in the time that it takes to go to a shop, have a look, buy a packet and get home you could have them all at home and you don’t run out as it is all there.”
The key Claire says is to make six changes in each room. Another change is using a refillable bottle for water rather than buying bottled water.
Small changes to your shopping habits may not seem like they will make a difference but it is a start and one less piece of plastic that could end up in the ocean.
“My mantra is reuse, refill and recycle,” enthuses Claire.
“You just have to be more organised, it can be hard as there aren’t many dispensers and refill shops here in and going to Brighton with two children under four is not ideal, but I try as much as I can.”
Claire is quick to point out that she is not perfect and sometimes she will just ‘buy a pizza for the kids to have for their dinner’ but she is still on the journey and trying to change and share her advice as much as she can.