Florence Reynolds reck­ons it shouldn’t be that hard to give up plas­tic. Re­porter talks to her about fol­low­ing her pas­sion.

Rose Caw­ley

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.