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Whitefish woman takes aim at plastic pollution

Posted: 10:12 AM, Nov 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-04 16:22:00-05

WHITEFISH — Plastic pollution is a worldwide concern, especially as fewer places are able to accept recyclables.

But one Whitefish woman is doing something to help by creating a specialty shampoo bar that doesn't use a plastic bottle at all.

RELATED: Study finds microplastics in most Montana rivers

Sarah Harding and her family were on a trip of a life time to West Sumatra. But as beautiful as their trip was, plastic on the otherwise pristine beaches was troubling Harding.

"We'd pull up to these absolutely gorgeous beaches that were you know, white sand, palm trees, blue ocean all around them and then, they'd be covered in plastic and it was just heart breaking," explained Harding.

So, she starting brainstorming.

"We've got to do better. So, I said ok, so I'll go home and make shampoo bars. And I kinda just made them for me, because it was what I wanted. I wanted to try and not use so much plastic."

Harding makes homemade natural shampoo bars at her company called CoConut at Sea Soap Company. In addition to shampoo bars Harding also makes soaps and is working on developing a conditioner bar.

Harding told MTN News that one shampoo bar is equivalent to about a sixteen ounce shampoo bottle, and says how much plastic those could save if you just swap out your bottle for a bar.

"I saw another estimate that it would save five hundred twenty-two million bottles because apparently people use about five a year," explained Harding.

Friend Robin Kelson says just how important being aware of plastic recycling is noting that if plastic ends up in landfills, she says it can be detrimental to our health.

"The plastic doesn't actually break down completely, it just gets smaller and smaller and smaller due to solar degradation and then it actually gets into the air. We breathe it, our children breathe it. It's just probably not healthy long term," said Harding.

Both Kelson and Harding will speak at an education event at Flathead Valley Community College on Nov. 2 to bring awareness to the state of plastics in the Flathead.

Kelson says it's a topic people need to hear about, "our capacity to recycle is about twenty percent of what it was about five years ago."

If you want easy ways to decrease plastic use, Kelson suggests using a refillable water bottle and coffee cup and re usable grocery bags.