Greenpeace and non-profit organisation Everyday Plastic are inviting homes across the UK to take part in The Big Plastic Count to help uncover the truth about what happens to our plastic waste, and force the government to fix it.
The Big Plastic Count is the UK’s largest-ever investigation into household plastic waste. It is taking place 16-22 May 2022 and the survey is supported by naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham and actor Bonnie Wright.
Created by Who Wot Why, the work is designed to get UK households to participate in the first national survey to uncover the extent of the UK’s plastics problem, and to help force the government to properly tackle the single-use plastic issue.
It's aimed at getting people to sign up to the survey, which will measure how much plastic waste is produced and where it ends up in the world—designed to engage kids and get them to act.
Maja Darlington, a plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK said: "The government claims to be a global leader in tackling plastic pollution but its figures don’t stack up. With the help of households across the UK, we are going to gather evidence that the government can't ignore, and push them to make changes that will actually tackle the plastic crisis."
Sean Thompson at Who Wot Why, said: “We are very fired up to get Greenpeace’s campaign out to as wide an audience as possible, and in a way which inspires people to get involved. It’s scary thinking what we’ll discover but as Greenpeace knows all too well, the government’s past behaviour proves that the only way MPs will take meaningful action is if they are shamed into doing so.”
New polling from YouGov, commissioned by Greenpeace UK, shows how more than four in five people (81%) want the UK Government to introduce targets to reduce plastic waste.
The Big Plastic Count encourages individuals, households, schools, community groups and businesses across the UK to count their plastic packaging waste, record the different types they throw away and enter their results into the campaign website.
The data each participant generates will contribute to an overall national picture, filling a crucial evidence gap on exactly how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes. The results will demonstrate the scale of the plastic waste problem, and pressure the government and supermarkets to tackle the root cause of the plastic crisis.
Everyday Plastic founder, Daniel Webb, collected every piece of his plastic waste for a year. With a scientific researcher, he developed a unique methodology to calculate his personal plastic footprint. Now, The Big Plastic Count offers the public the same chance to discover what happens to their plastic waste once they throw it away.
“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.”
The YouGov survey shows how almost four in five (77%) people in the UK recycle plastic products in order to reduce plastic waste.
However, three in four (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after disposing of it.
Greenpeace UK’s plastics campaigner, Maja Darlington, said: “The plastic crisis is out of control. And the only system that people have to combat it – recycling – is broken. The vast majority of us try to play our part in tackling the plague of plastic waste but without government policies that actually reduce packaging and improve recycling – rather than burning, burying or bundling it off to pollute other countries – we’ll continue to fight a losing battle. It’s simply not good enough. That’s why The Big Plastic Count is so important. So join The Count and let’s push the government to take ambitious action on plastic.”
The campaign is supported by actor Bonnie Wright, as well as naturalist and television presenter, Chris Packham, who said: “It’s ridiculous that we’re still swamped with plastic waste when it makes so many of us furious. The natural world can’t cope. We need to find out what’s really happening to plastic that’s supposedly recycled. I’ll be joining The Big Plastic Count and I’d urge you to do it too.”
Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic will use the results of The Big Plastic Count to push the UK government to introduce stricter policies to reduce plastic waste. These include setting a target to reduce the UK’s single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, banning all plastic waste exports and implementing an all-in Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse.
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