Eco Comment – Plastic Free July Starts on Monday

28 June 2024

It’s weird to think that it’s almost July and the start of Plastic Free July. I remember writing about it last year and, if I’m honest, I don’t feel that much has changed. Whilst we don’t tend to use as many plastic bags, the supermarkets still wrap goods in plastic and the number of ready meal plastic containers has possibly become even more prevalent than before, although there has been a change by some manufacturers to paper/card and bamboo.

Probably one of the worst items that we see for consumption is the plastic drinks bottle. Whilst many people buy cans which are recyclable, there are still so many single use bottles, both big and small. Many companies make and sell bottled water, fizzy drinks and pop. Many of them use plastic but according to the internet the largest branded plastic pollution company worldwide has a bottling plant in Wakefield – Coca Cola. Fifty-six brands led by the Coca Cola company are responsible for more than half of the plastic pollution found across the globe, according to a study in April 2024. Just over half the analysed items had a visible brand. The rest were too degraded or simply never had brand information in the first place. Of the top five companies identified, Coca Cola was the single most common source for plastic waste, representing 11% of the total branded waste found.

Some of you might have come across ‘The Story of Stuff’ project. ‘The Story of Stuff’ was an animated short film written by Annie Leonard, Louis Fox and Jonah Sachs and was released in December 2007. It is freely available ( and it ‘exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.’ Eleven years ago, another film came out: ‘The Story of Change’. It’s very American, but it gives a lot of food for thought and is well worth a watch. It almost gives a history lesson into how changes have been made and can be affected by people power. Curious, given that (another event happening next week) one of the best ways to affect change is ‘to vote’.

Three years ago ‘The Story of Plastic’ was produced. It is quite an education. It would be nice to think that some of it might have changed in the three years since it was produced, but I don’t know.

But enough of education; let’s get back to and all the information that can be found on it’s website. There are resources to help you, there’s a quiz if you don’t know which plastics you can change, there’s a challenge and there’s a whole selection of ideas and situations where you might be that one person to affect change.

Over recent years I have changed the way I buy certain products. I no longer buy washing powder or liquid but use the concentrated eco sheets of non-bio detergent. My target this year is to stop buying bottles of toiletries. In some ways it might feel like going back in time. Before the advent of plastic, didn’t people use soap in different forms for most sorts of washing? I’m also looking at other forms of toothpaste that don’t come in plastic tubes, but I’ve still got some research to do on that one. I am going to make a conscious effort to cut back. I am going to start ignoring the advertising. I, along with so many others, am bombarded with advertising. It comes in emails, social media, television and newspapers. I can’t walk into town without seeing large moving screen advertisement boards trying to persuade me that I can’t live without a whole host of products. I have decided that the time has come and, as I will be away from my usual routine next week, this Plastic Free July is a really good time to start.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

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Wakefield Cathedral’s Eco Group brings together members of the congregation, volunteers and staff to work towards making the cathedral a greener place to work and worship.

The Eco Group achieves its goals through a variety of activities, including partnerships with local community groups.

We invite anyone and everyone to reach out if they are interested in joining the eco group, or simply finding out more about what we do.

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