What is The Big Plastic Count and how do I get involved?

Help contribute vital data regarding the scale of plastic pollution in this national survey

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 16 May 2022 12:21
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<p>Count your plastics and make a difference</p>

Count your plastics and make a difference

Tens of thousands of people across the UK are set to record how much plastic packaging they throw away in a bid to provide a national snapshot of the plastic waste problem.

Environmentalist Chris Packham, actress Bonnie Wright and dozens of MPs will be among around 140,000 people participating in The Big Plastic Count, Greenpeace said.

The charity said the data collected will fill what they described as a crucial evidence gap and help show the Government and supermarkets that more must be done to tackle the problem.

But how can you get involved and how will the data be used? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is The Big Plastic Count?

The inspiration behind The Big Plastic Count comes from a personal experiment carried out by the founder of Everyday Plastic, Daniel Webb.

He decided to count and categorise all his plastic waste for 12 months and photograph it for a billboard to get a sense of the scale of the plastic waste problem.

He was shocked to discover his hoard of plastic waste totalled 4,490 pieces of plastic.

He said: “Having counted my plastic waste for an entire year, I know exactly how powerful this investigation can be in helping to understand the true extent of the plastic problem.

“The Big Plastic Count is a simple yet impactful way to discover your household plastic footprint, whilst contributing vital evidence to push the government for long overdue change.”

Now, people across the UK are being encouraged to count all the plastic that they use throughout a single week.

Why is this happening now?

This year, the government is starting to decide on legal targets for reducing plastic waste. But there’s currently nowhere near enough information about how much plastic leaves UK households or what happens to it.

The more people who participate in The Big Plastic Count, the better sense of the scale of the problem we will have, and the louder the call for change.

How do I get involved?

Plastic waste

People can still sign up to take part by visiting the Big Plastic Count’s website and downloading a digital pack with instructions on what type of plastics to count and how to record them.

This includes plastic going in your bin and plastic you put out for recycling.

Don’t forget to write down any piece of plastic packaging you use while out of your home, then tally it when you get back.

At the end of the count, submit your results by 31 May 2022 at thebigplasticcount.com/submit.

What happens next?

Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic said the results of the survey will be released as soon as they have been processed, with campaigners hoping they can push the government to reduce single-use plastic by 50 per cent by 2025, ban all plastic waste exports and implement a deposit return scheme for recycling and reuse.

The team behind The Big Plastic Count remind us that solving the problem “isn’t about us feeling bad when we need to use plastic”.

Instead, they state we need to “stop the flow of plastic production”.

“We need reusable alternatives that are affordable, accessible and appropriate for all. These big changes need to come from the government, brands and supermarkets - and that’s what you’re helping us prove.”

For more information, go to www.thebigplasticcount.com

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