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Fitting a month’s trash in a small jar? Easy as pie for this British expat!

Fitting a month’s trash in a small jar? Easy as pie for this British expat!

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
A British expatriate in Qatar is tapping the power of social media to share his journey towards reducing his dependence on single-use plastics with the hope of inspiring others to follow suit and bringing attention on the hazards of plastic waste.
Colin Turner, an environmentalist, created his personal Instagram campaign @zerowaste_expat several months ago. The social media account features his simple acts of environmental care that includes reducing his total amount of trash in a week from about three or four bags to fitting a month’s collection of trash in just a small jar! This initiative has earned him praise from many social media users including those based in Qatar.
“I firmly believe that the majority of people know how harmful single-use plastics can be, but many are unaware of how bad our addiction with it has become, as I certainly was. Single-use plastics are everywhere and our dependency on them has spiraled out of control,” Colin told Qatar Tribune.
The environment advocate said he has always been conscious about minimising his impact on the environment by trying to reduce his carbon footprint and CO2 emissions whenever possible, and by being mindful of the scarcity of fresh water in the world. However, he added, lately he has become more conscious on his dependency on plastic, especially during his trips to grocery shops. Colin said, watching documentaries highlighting how plastic pollution is impacting the oceans also helped open his eyes even wider.
“It is also forecast that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish! Learning these kinds of statistics were a real eye opener for me. After a few Google searches and documentaries later I found myself pursuing the ‘zero waste’ movement. The movement is not about being perfect and eliminating ‘all’ waste -- we live in an economy where this is unfortunately impossible. However, it is a movement which aims to keep waste to an absolute minimum, choosing sustainable and plastic free products which do not negatively impact the environment. I started with following a few zero waste accounts on instagram which motivated and educated me immensely,” Colin said.
“Shortly after, I set up my own instagram page, @zerowaste_expat, aiming to significantly reduce my own waste, especially plastic consumption, and inspire others to do the same. I have been doing this for about nine months using the social media platform to educate and advise others on the harm we are inflicting on the earth while sharing some simple eco-friendly and plastic-free alternatives available,” he said.
Colin’s account features composting at home, bringing reusable produce and shopping bags, using more homemade and natural cleaning products, and swapping plastic items with bamboo products that are 100 percent biodegradable.
“The instagram page has received a lot of positive feedback from others, particularly from my followers in Qatar, with many opting and sharing environment-friendly alternatives. My page is not revolutionary; it is not the first zero waste page, nor is it the best out there. But, it does create another ripple against our plastic consumption and plants a seed of knowledge in others which may not otherwise have been possible. Because of this, I always encourage others to do the same, i.e. make your eco-swaps and shout about it loudly! You do not have to setup a dedicated page for this, but please talk about it and document the positive changes you make. We all have the power to influence others like never before in our history via the little device that sits in our pockets!,” he added.

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