Looking to the Future

Making the high street greener

October 2020

Laura Brennan, EcoSouk

Laura Brennan was taught about the importance of sustainability by her family from a young age; “my mother instilled these values in me – she was ahead of her time, sending me off to school with my sandwiches wrapped in old cereal packets and finding perfectly edible cabbages discarded at the market.”

An Al Jazeera English news reporter by day, Laura was driven to found EcoSouk when she became aware of the high levels of plastic usage and waste she could see around her. EcoSouk provide products that help to reduce daily waste, including produce bags and pouches, reusable cotton pads, water bottles, bamboo straws and cotton buds; Laura can create five bags and a pouch from just three 500-ml plastic bottles.

Her products were quick to gain popularity among other environmental enthusiasts in Qatar. “I was doing deliveries every hour I had. That was tough, but exhilarating – meeting all these like-minded people who dislike plastic produce bags who were so pleased to have a product that replaced it so easily.”

In recognition of her work, Laura received the 2020 Qatar Green Building Council SME Sustainability Initiative Award; “it was a real highlight of my EcoSouk journey. The judges recognised the bags as being ‘a sustainable and affordable product, and a perfect addition to the ending of single-use plastic movement in Qatar’. That is exactly what I had wanted them to be.”

For those wanting to live more sustainably, Laura has some simple advice:

“Start by replacing one thing and get into the habit of using it. There is no point in buying reusables if they are not used! Begin with product bags, clip them to your other shopping bags and put them in the front seat of your car. Try a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, find alternatives to cling film and tin foil, a bar of soap instead of shower gel, and for babies, look for eco nappies.”

“Lastly, stop buying stuff. We are addicted to having new things and we don’t need them. The planet cannot keep up with the resources and energy it takes to make all these things and then to dispose of them when we are bored of them.”

Laura and EcoSouk are working to make sustainability easy, and she notes that by adopting some of these simple habits, “future generations will thank you for it.”