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‘Everyone can make a difference’ - Can a market town become plastic free?

PUBLISHED: 10:15 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:15 11 March 2020

Fakenham's Thursday market PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Fakenham's Thursday market PICTURE: Matthew Farmer

Archant

Can a market town become entirely plastic-free?

One of the founding members and trustee of the Environmental Investigation Agency, Jennifer Lonsdale. Picture: Jennifer LonsdaleOne of the founding members and trustee of the Environmental Investigation Agency, Jennifer Lonsdale. Picture: Jennifer Lonsdale

That is the question being posed to people in Fakenham by Jennifer Lonsdale, one of the founding members of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The EIA was founded in 1984 and investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuse.

Mrs Lonsdale was due to give a talk at the town's Festival of Ideas, however, the event was cancelled. She wants to get people believing they can make a difference.

The 68-year-old said: 'That is the thing about plastic, everyone can make a difference.

Owners of the Rainbow Deli in Fakenham, Naomi Katze (left) and Alan Katze (right). Picture. ArchantOwners of the Rainbow Deli in Fakenham, Naomi Katze (left) and Alan Katze (right). Picture. Archant

'That is one of the really good things about it, it's not just up at the international level, it comes right down to the choices that you and I make.'

Mrs Lonsdale said things people in the town could do included stopping buying drinks in plastic bottles, remembering to bring bags when they go shopping, and having their own water bottle.

She also mentioned the independent shops in the town, and what they can do to help reduce the uses of plastic.

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Mrs Lonsdale said: 'The small shops are thinking about what they can do - how they procure food, how things are delivered to their shops, what items are wrapped in.'

But how difficult is it for an independent shop to be as eco-friendly as possible?

Naomi Katze, 47, co-owns the Rainbow Deli in Fakenham. Serving coffees, sandwiches and local fresh products. She said the shop is very conscious of its plastic footprint, offering recyclable sandwich bags and coffee cups.

However, she believes smaller businesses can be priced out of eco resources.

Organiser of Keep Fakenham Clean Facebook page, Andy McBride. Picture: Andy McbrideOrganiser of Keep Fakenham Clean Facebook page, Andy McBride. Picture: Andy Mcbride

She said: 'Being a smaller independent business, it is hard enough to make money, and with the eco stuff it can just price us out.

'We use a lot of cling film to wrap our products, and the eco-friendly alternative is very expensive. Every evening we have to wrap our products so it would become very expensive very quickly.'

Andy McBride, 60, runs a keep Fakenham tidy Facebook page and has been organising litter picks in the town.

Whilst he was digging he unearthed proof of how damaging plastic is. Mr McBride said: 'I dug up an old plastic ice pop wrapper in perfect condition from the early 1970s.

'It got me thinking, if I drop a piece of plastic carelessly on the ground today it may one day be dug up by somebody in another 50 years in 2080. The truth is it doesn't go away, we are all to blame, we live in a wasteful world.'

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