Plastic Free July

By Jill Hamilton

25 July 2018

More and more people are coming to realise the uncomfortable truths about disposable plastics. They don't magically disappear when you dispose of them so almost all the plastic ever made still exists in some form, and over eight million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year.

This month is Plastic Free July and although here at Max Fordham we've a long way to go before we can claim to be Plastic Free, all of our offices have recently been increasing their efforts to reduce plastic packaging at source as part of our ethical procurement procedures.

Plastic bottles are a major contributor to plastic waste; a million are made every minute and the rate is rising quickly, with annual consumption forecast to top half a trillion by 2021. Our Manchester and Bristol offices have both recently changed to using glass bottles for their milk deliveries. If the glass bottle is re-used enough times it becomes far more energy-efficient over its life cycle than a plastic bottle. The number of times an average glass milk bottle is reused (known as trippage) is around 15 - and it can be as much as 50 times.

Our London office ensures that it sources products with the minimum plastic packaging for catering and canteen supplies, and is also looking at ways of replacing Perspex report covers with card to reduce plastics use. Glass jars are chosen over plastic containers for spreads and preserves and these are often taken home by people for reuse as drinking glasses or for storage.

In Edinburgh and Cambridge all groceries and fruit are delivered without plastic bags or packaging. Edinburgh’s provision of reusable bamboo / fibre cups for takeaway beverages and soups has reduced the number of plastic-lined single use cups for disposal by over 10% on 2017 figures. It is very rare for any single-use plastic-lined takeaway cups to be used at all in our Cambridge and Bristol offices, an impressive achievement.

While our efforts may all seem like a drop in our plastic-polluted oceans, until there is a global effort to reduce plastics production and find practical sustainable alternatives, every little we can do has to be worth it.

Jill Hamilton is the Office Manager in our Edinburgh office and can be contacted on 0131 476 6001 and by email at


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