Plastic Free July – Interview with Aspiga’s Lucy Macnamara

Beach Cleaning

Aspiga have been committed to ethical trading since they were founded in 2011, and launched their beach clean up campaign in 2019 for World Oceans Day. For every pair of Kenyan sandals sold, a basket of plastic is cleaned up by a group of 12 children in Kenya who’s education is being supported by the initiative. Since then they have continued this initiative each year and even got their staff to get involved by beach cleaning on the banks of the Thames.

Reducing Plastic Waste

We spoke to Aspiga’s founder Lucy about her work, as an example of someone who’s doing great things in the face of the plastic problem. We hope it provides a bit of Plastic Free July motivation! Here is what Lucy had to say:

Is it difficult to run a profitable business while having such a strong focus on charitable activities?

Ethical trading will always be at the heart of the Aspiga business, from charity involvement and giving and beach cleans to reducing and offsetting our carbon footprint.   We wouldn’t be true to ourselves as a business if we weren’t constantly thinking about other ways we can better the planet and people. I am passionate about ensuring that this continues no matter how busy things get on the business side. I am very lucky to have a strong team around me who are also passionate about the brand ethos which helps me feel very supported in my mission.

An individual beach clean can feel like a small action in the face of the huge plastic problem, but can you tell us why they are important?

Everything counts in the journey to a more sustainable future. If our local initiatives can help to raise awareness and encourage more people to be conscious of their actions and the impact it has on the earth, then we are making progress. People’s attitudes towards plastic bottles have definitely changed in recent years, if you look around, so many people have now moved towards eco-friendly options rather than single use plastic, so we are getting somewhere. However, this is only the beginning of a very long journey and we must keep the momentum up to keep making progress.

Our beach clean initiatives not only benefit the beaches but also support children in the local community to get an education. Helping others to help themselves has always been extremely important to me and at the core of the brand. From day one, Aspiga has focussed on stimulating the economies of marginalised communities and helping to build a brighter future for them and the planet.

Has your beach clean initiative received a good amount of engagement from your customers?

They are very well received by our customers but we haven’t yet really opened them up to customers just because of the logistics of it all.  Although the shops in Cornwall are inviting customers to participate. 

Are there plans to scale your beach clean initiative at all?

After successfully launching our initiative in Kenya, we have since introduced beach cleans in London and Cornwall. This is something we would like to continue throughout the year at regular intervals. We may look to expand and introduce these into different territories at a later date so watch this space!

What’s the most interesting thing that’s been found on one of your beach cleans?

I wouldn’t say anything really exciting (although one of our team in Cornwall last year found a pair of knickers.. !!)  in the UK we find a lot of fishing nets and lines and smaller bits of plastic.  In Kenya, it is always lots and lots of plastic bottles..  

To read more about Aspiga’s beach clean initiative click here.

And say goodbye to plastic bottles for good buy getting yourself a stainless steel bottle today!

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