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  • Writer's pictureWatlington Climate Action Group

The Big Plastic Count comes to Watlington

Denny Rigby, Watlington Climate Action Group

The ‘Big Plastic Count’ is an initiative between Everyday Plastic and Green Peace that aims to help us understand our plastic footprint; and put a stop to the plastic crisis. The initiative was running between 11th March – 17th March 2024, and at the moment of writing more than 103,800 people participated.

With about 2 billion pieces of plastic ending up in our bins weekly, only a disappointing 12% is recycled globally. In the UK, the Government claims that over 50% of plastic is recycled but Green Peace disagrees with this statement and believes that thousands of tonnes of plastic packaging is either incinerated or sent abroad. In fact, Green Peace claims that the household plastic waste from the UK sent abroad is equivalent to 24.5 Olympic swimming pools every week.

In any case, the consumer is not to blame here. It is time the Government takes this issue seriously and considers immediate action. Countries like South Korea and Germany have the highest plastic recycling rates in the world estimated at 59% and 65% respectively. Both countries have strong and comprehensive waste management systems, enforced by their governments, which allow consumers to easily recycle their plastic pieces. Initiatives like the ‘Big Plastic Count’ can help collect the evidence needed to push the Government towards implementation of policies on plastic. I consider our household rather cautious when comes to plastic waste, but after 5 days of counting, we have managed to accumulate 23 pieces of various plastic packaging mainly coming from food. Based on this information, I calculated our annual plastic footprint to be an astonishing 1,679 plastic pieces! This project puts things into perspective!


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