Someone walked past the window of Nourish of Topsham last week, looked in, turned to his wife and said “Oh, that’s where hippies do their shopping”. The local lady filling her containers helped by her son laughed “I’m about as far from a hippy as it’s possible to get”.

There is a sea of change in attitudes towards packaging and disposable products, which business can no longer afford to ignore. When Waitrose released a statement saying that they were no longer giving out disposable coffee cups, I suddenly realised that waste reduction wasn’t an issue for the few but a concern of the majority.  Scientists have been warning everyone about the environmental impact of our reliance on single use plastics for decades, so why the sudden movement?

Mass media and social media have had a huge part to play, the very visual effects of plastics on animals and our environment are in our living rooms, on our computer screens and on our phones. Environmentalism has gone viral.

A result of this is a counter movement, like the hashtags #fiveminutebeachclean and #makelitterpickingcool which allow people to take photos of their individual efforts to clean up their local call environments and post.  Social media allows people to see that other people are doing something about it and this is a bandwagon that is considered immoral to get off. This has allowed the growth of new businesses such as Nourish, which is helping to make environmentalism the new normal.

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