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Customers get eco help

Donna Laing with her environmentally friendly kit she takes shopping. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

BECKIE WILSON

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A rural Masterton woman is putting the environment first having created an online forum where customers can see what local businesses are doing to eliminate plastics.

It all began when Donna Laing decided to tackle ‘Plastic Free July’ — a month where consumers were encouraged to refuse buying single-use plastics.

“It kind of motivated me to wondering what businesses out there were concerned about the environment,” Mrs Laing said.

Since starting the Facebook page, Enviro Friendly Businesses Wairarapa, over a month ago, she has reviewed a handful of businesses in Masterton.

“It has really taken off, and was from a suggestion from someone to find out what businesses do.”

For example, Moore Wilson are going to stop selling plastic bags and will offer a 20-cent paper bag, fabric bags to buy, or a free cardboard box, she said.

Iberia cafe, Countdown and Bin Inn are also doing a good job of it, she said.

“My goal is to go around the businesses and see if I could bring my own bags, or bring my own containers and then put it on the page,” she said.

She is hoping the reviews will trigger customers to be more aware of buying eco-friendly products.

Mrs Laing, a family support manager, remembers when she made products at home such as beeswax cloths.

“I started making homemade products many years ago when I was a solo mum, but that was for financial reasons and then as things improved I became the consumer.

“As I’ve gotten older I’ve become global and thinking about sustainability of the earth, and single use plastic.

“I’m by no means perfect, I have a long way to go, but if everyone makes small changes it can make a big difference.”

The Facebook page has triggered gatherings of like-minded people in the region, including to make homemade cheese and face moisturisers, as well as coffee catch-ups to exchange tips.

Mrs Laing has her own environmentally friendly kit in her handbag including aluminium straws, a ‘go cup’ and a fabric bag.

She believes her Facebook page is the only one of its kind in Wairarapa, and she wants businesses doing their bit to get in touch with her.

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