Where your waste stream goes

The Big Plastic Count, the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, has begun. Over 140,000 participants are planning to take part across the country, including schools, MPs, community groups, businesses, families and individuals. The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK. 

British celebrities including Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Bonnie Wright are also taking part, along with 94 MPs from across Parliament, and 3,500 school classes from all over the UK. 

The UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country except the US. In 2018, the country generated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over. The UK also exports vast quantities of plastic waste abroad, much to its shame. 

So, it’s probably about time to tally it up and see what we can do to reduce the waste stream coming out of our shopping and into the waterways, landfills and wherever else it ends up (see photo). Animals shouldn’t have to deal with our litter and it is something we export to other countries for their fauna to deal with as well.  

Every participant will record the different types of plastic packaging waste they throw away, and submit their results. This will generate a national picture of the plastic waste, demonstrating the scale of the problem and putting even more pressure on the government to act. 

 That being said, I am not optimistic about this government’s acting on results, as seen by its refusal to require water companies to measure the amount of raw sewage being dumped into rivers here in the UK. They like the idea of being carbon neutral by 2050, but it appears it’s all grandstanding for the cameras. If it’s not measured, how is any reduction possible?  

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