Interview | Martin Dorey author of No.More.Plastic
Martin Dorey is one of our heroes here at Georganics. He's an anti-plastics expert and beach clean pioneer who has been working to save our beaches from plastic for the past 10 years.
Martin has recently published his book No.More.Plastic What you can do to make a difference – the #2minutesolution based on a campaign he developed that has been taken up by people all over the world, and has proven that collective small actions can add up to a big difference.
G: What inspired you to write your book No. More. Plastic?
Martin: No. More. Plastic. was inspired by my years of experience with the #2minutebeachclean campaign. I realised very quickly that we can’t continue picking it up off the beaches. We have to go upstream and tackle the issue of marine plastics at the source. I wanted to relate what we have learned from beach cleaning to our everyday lives.
How does the way we live affect the oceans? The answer is that everything we do affects the oceans, no matter how far away from it we live. So we have to act. NOW!
G: For those that haven’t read the book what is your #2MinuteSolution?
Martin: The #2minutesolution is the treatment of the cause rather than the symptom, which is the #2minutebeachclean. It is the idea that small actions – that take just a couple of minutes to complete – can add up to a big difference.
2 minutes is no time to put yourself out and yet it can have a great effect. Of course, if you do lots of 2 minute solutions to the plastic problem you can have a really positive effect on your life and the life of others. You might have to put yourself out a bit, but not much…
G: As mentioned above you also founded the idea of the #2MinuteBeachClean, tell us more about it and how everyone can get involved.
Martin: The #2minutebeachclean is simply about picking up beach litter for 2 minutes each and every time you go to the beach. It started after the storms of 2013 left my beach devastated. I decided to keep going back and so went back time after time after time to try and make a difference.
It was so overwhelming I decided I should use social media to help. That was the first #2minutebeachclean hashtag. Since then it’s gone mad. We’ve had 85k posts to Instagram, half a million mentions Twitter and have almost 500 beach clean stations on beaches in the UK and Ireland or in production.
G: When did you decide you wanted to make a difference and start living more sustainably? Was there an ‘ahah’ moment?
Martin: It crept up on me. I still find it hard, infuriating, frustrating, but I keep on making little changes as I go along. We all learn all the time so I am learning all the time. But if there was one moment it would be walking on a beach that we knee deep in plastic bottles. I remember walking away furious and yet determined to make a difference. The Beach Clean Network, my not for profit, was the result of that day.
G: What have you found is your biggest hurdle when it comes to plastic-free living?
Martin: The biggest hurdle? Plastic-free living itself. I think it’s nonsense that we could live plastic-free lives – it is so ingrained in our culture and everything that surrounds us is plastic. What we have to do is become plastic conscious and plastic clever.
We need to cut out the wasteful use of plastic – it starts at the supermarket and goes on from there. And the biggest hurdle with that is finding plastic-free alternatives to packaging. It drives me crazy and it’s not easy to shop without plastic because so much is thrust at us.
G: What are your 3 top tips for anyone who is looking to reduce their plastic consumption day to day.
Martin: Take it 2 minutes at a time. You don’t have to save the world all in one go. So start small and work up to it. Begin with a small change that makes a big difference. If you drink coffee, get a keep cup and use it religiously.
If you drink bottled water, get over yourself and buy a reusable bottle. It’s 500 times cheaper to drink water from the tap anyway.
If you use wet wipes, either switch to an eco friendly biodegradable brand – if you really can’t live without them – or just ditch them and get a flannel! Sometimes the old ways are the best.
Then get rid of your squirty soap, your shampoo bottles, your ocean damaging washing up liquid…. Then see how far you have come…. Amazing huh?
G: What are 5 plastic free swaps you couldn’t live without?
Martin: There are 7 items that make up a third of all beach litter (according to our app). These are:
Straws and cutlery
Crisp and sweet wrappers
Cotton bud sticks
We can all cut them out today because there are alternatives to each one. And that will make a HUGE difference on our beaches. I explain more in the book about each item and why it’s important to cut them out, and how easy it is to… just 2 minutes is all it takes. So it’s 7, not 5, but it still counts…
You can find out more about what you can do to save the planet from Plastic in Martin's book No.More.Plastic What you can do to make a difference – the #2minutesolution which you can purchase from Waterstones and other retailers.
Martin also founded not for profit where they have resources, a plastic-free shop, and information on how to set up a #2MinuteBeachClean board and station in your local area.