Skip links

Climate Action and Modern Slavery

Climate Action


Action to limit climate change is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.   We all now understand the need to act to ensure a safer future for our children and grandchildren.  Woking, like many other other towns, has declared a climate emergency.

For all these reasons, Woking Soroptimists have set up a Climate Action group to lead our community service in this area.

Medical blister packets

This year, the Soroptimist Day of Action was held on Saturday, 16 July.  The Action theme was ‘reduce single-use plastic waste’.  So Woking Soroptimists were at Woking Environment Action’s WeAct Hub in Mercia Walk that day to collect medical blister packs for recycling.  The hundreds of blister packets we collected just on that one day will be recycled through the Superdrug scheme.

Why does SI Woking collect empty blister packets?

SI Woking collects empty medicine blister packets for recycling because they are difficult to recycle.  At the moment, the local Woking waste service does not take them.    Superdrug has a programme to collect the packets at its pharmacies for recycling by Veolia.  Unfortunately, the collection service is not available in every town.  It’s an excellent initiative but more needs to be done to collect and recycle the very many medicine blister packets that are thrown away every day.

We know that single-use plastic waste is bad for us and for our planet.  As consumers, we try to reduce the plastic we throw away.  But when it comes to medicines, the patient cannot choose which medicine to take.  It is up to the manufacturers to find ways of delivering and packaging medicines that create less plastic waste and packaging that is easy to recycle.


Soroptimists say: “It would be really good to have a ‘one-stop’ blue bin collection in our community for medical blister packs!”

A manufacturer cutting plastic waste

Did you know a local Woking company is helping to reduce plastic waste by making paper straws?  We visited The Paper Straw Company and discovered that it is possible to make a paper straw that’s as good as a plastic one…but doesn’t have to end up in landfill.  Our picture shows member Kath Heatley with a pack of Jubilee straws.


Calculate your carbon footprint

Do I really need to change what I do because of climate change?    Find out with this easy calculator.

Modern Slavery

Dr Julia Tomas, Anti Slavery Co-ordinator at The Passage to the SI Woking Modern Slavery (MDS) Working Group and SI Woking & District members on 10th May 2022. Our conclusion: The figures are gruesome and the stories behind them harrowing.   And we only hear of some of the cases – who knows how many more terrible experiences remain to be uncovered?.








Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • forced to work through mental or physical threat
  • owned or controlled by an ’employer’, usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse
  • dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as ‘property’
  • physically constrained or have restrictions placed on his/her freedom

The following definitions are encompassed within the term ‘modern slavery’ for the purposes of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

These are:

  • ‘slavery’ is where ownership is exercised over a person
  • ‘servitude’ involves the obligation to provide services imposed by coercion
  • ‘forced or compulsory labour’ involves work or service extracted from any person under the menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself voluntarily
  • ‘human trafficking’ concerns arranging or facilitating the travel of another with a view to exploiting them.

Woking Soroptimists have set up a Modern Slavery group to lead our community service in this area.