179 local households participate in a plastic waste survey

3:00 p.m. July 21, 2022

18:07 July 21, 2022

Over 150 households in Welwyn Hatfield took part in The Big Plastic Count – the UK’s largest ever citizen science survey of household plastic waste.

For a week in May, almost 100,000 households across the UK – including 179 in the Welwyn Hatfield constituency – counted their plastic packaging waste and sent their results to Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic.

Each UK household throws away an average of 66 pieces of plastic packaging in just one week. In the UK, this amounts to 3,432 coins per household when applied over a year.

As a result, it is estimated that around 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging are thrown away by UK households every year, of which 12% is likely to be recycled in the UK.

More of the UK’s household plastic waste (17%) is shipped overseas rather than recycled at home. Almost half (46%) of household plastic waste in the UK is incinerated while the remaining 25% is landfilled.

A staggering 83% of recorded plastic came from food and beverage packaging waste, with the most common item being fruit and vegetable packaging.

Sarah Butcher, Welwyn Garden City Greenpeace member, said: “I am horrified to hear that only 12% of the plastic we produce is suitable for recycling and the rest ends up polluting. I sort my plastic waste and recycle what I can, but clearly this system cannot cope with all our waste, and it is up to the government and big brands to reduce the amount of plastic produced in the first place. .

“I realize from my own results that even though I threw away less plastic than average, I was still very shocked to learn that if everyone used the same amount as me, it would be more than 54 billion pieces of plastic every year!It is really hard to avoid buying plastic products and the government and big producers need to do more to solve this problem.

The government is considering legal targets to reduce waste this year. Greenpeace Welwyn Garden City Group has called on the government to set legally binding targets to almost completely abolish single-use plastic, starting with a 50% reduction target for single-use plastic by 2025.

The country’s biggest-ever survey of household plastic waste may reveal that nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic are thrown away each year in the UK, of which only 12% are likely to be recycled.
– Credit: © Emily Buchanan / Greenpeace

Alternatives must be affordable, reusable and accessible, including for people with disabilities. WGC Greenpeace volunteers are also calling for a deposit system for reusing and recycling plastics, a ban on dumping our waste in other countries and a moratorium on new incineration capacity.

Sarah added: ‘When we were in Welwyn talking to local residents about The Big Plastic Count, people were really keen to get involved and find out what actually happens to the plastic they put in the bin or recycling bag. . I am therefore disappointed that MP Grant Shapps has not joined us and I urge him to ask the government for the ambitious plastic reduction targets that we urgently need”.

Big Plastic Count results are available here.

Bryce K. Locke