Florence Reynolds reckons it shouldn’t be that hard to give up plastic. Reporter talks to her about following her passion.
Florence Reynolds might be young but her ambitions are mighty.
The 22-year-old is studying fulltime while trying to save the world – well at least New Zealand.
The social and environmental entrepreneur was pushed to act after an assignment for her conjoint psychology and ecology degree at the University of Auckland.
‘‘We had to go out and collect rubbish on the beach, analyse it and look at the data set to see how it has changed.
‘‘I was out there collecting and I found a peg and that was a moment of realisation for me because it’s not like a Coke bottle or lid that has been dropped outside, a peg has come from a home and made its way most likely through a drain to our beach.’’
Confronted by the reality of New Zealand’s pollution problem Reynolds was no longer content to just sit back and write assignments.
Instead she turned her life upside down and decided to start the organisation Plastic Diet to promote solutions and awareness of the country’s plastic problem.
At first she spent a year trying to walk the talk by not using any single-use plastic – no plastic water bottles, no takeaway cups or containers and no plastic food wrappers.
‘‘It killed my sweet tooth and made me realise two things: that it shouldn’t be that hard to give up plastic and that me alone wasn’t solving the problem,’’ the Parnell resident says.
‘‘I needed to work with communities, with organisations and with the Government to create change.’’
Since then the 22-year-old has been funnelling her time into making a difference.
At the University of Auckland she started an initiative where students could borrow plates, cups and cutlery in the food hall instead of wasting single-use plastics.
She’s engaged young people in the ‘‘dry and dull’’ council