The Duke of Sussex has urged recycling firms to put “more pressure” on big companies to end the manufacture of single-use plastic bottles.
Speaking to the boss of a Moroccan company that recycles household products and cooking oil, Harry said the problem of avoidable waste needed to be tackled at its source.
The duke’s comments came when he and the duchess met entrepreneurs in Morocco, who have started companies aimed at tackling the country’s social, economic and environmental problems.
The event was held at the National Museum of Jewellery in the Andalusian Gardens in the capital Rabat – and when the couple walked through the green spaces looking at local arts and crafts, a stray cat caught their eye as it wandered across their path.
Talking to Youssef Chaqor, who runs a recycling company called Eko-Geste, Harry asked if recycling in Morocco was like other parts of the world, “where they think they are recycling but they are not – it ends up being dumped”.
He went on to tell Mr Chaqor: “You need to put more pressure on the big companies.”
He said that while big companies might give money to environmental projects, “they are still producing single-use plastic bottles”.
He added: “Go to the source.”
Mr Chaqor’s business recycles used cooking oil into biofuel, and also has a mobile app which helps people recycle household products. The recycling is sold, and the money split between the collector, the company and the household.
Later, the couple toured stands and stopped at a display featuring wallets and shoes made from cured fish skin.
Meghan asked what happened when it got wet, but PhD student Nawal Allaoui replied: “It’s waterproof.”
Harry congratulated her on moving away from snakeskin and crocodile skin, while Meghan said: “It’s really amazing not to use exotics like that, and instead use something sustainable that would otherwise go to waste.
“But they still have a fashionable impact.”
The couple also met the founders of Zyne, a luxury shoe brand employing women from the poor parts of Morocco. Its shoes sell for between £400 and £600.
Zineb Britel said the duchess admired a pair of shoes called El Nido made from raffia with a distinctive round heel. “She said, ‘Wow, this is a kickass heel’,” it was revealed.
During their tour of the gardens, the couple browsed an array of craft stands, including ornate wooden boxes carved by Mustafa Dennouch.
He gave the duchess a necklace of cedarwood balls, and gave Harry what he called “a magic box” made from sandalwood which Harry at first tried to refuse.
Twisting the lid reveals four hidden compartments, “It is sandalwood, it is a good smell,” said the artisan.
Driss Sakhi gave them an ornate handmade bronze platter, and showed them a photograph of him giving Prince Charles a box when he visited Fez in 2011.