The Big Plastic Count tells how much plastic Preston throw away

Posted on - 22nd July, 2022 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Uncategorized
Preston resident signing up to The Big Plastic Count ©Max Phythian.

The largest UK survey on household plastic waste showed that 12,094 pieces of plastic were thrown away by 190 households in Preston in one week.

Just under 100,000 households across the UK counted their plastic packaging waste for one week in May as part of The Big Plastic Count and sent their results to Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic.

Each UK household on average threw away 66 pieces of plastic packaging during the week, however, Preston households threw away on average 64 pieces.

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It amounts to an estimated 3,432 pieces per household when applied over a year. Therefore, nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging are estimated to be thrown away by UK households every year, with just 12% likely to be recycled in the UK.

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

83% of the plastic recorded was from food and drink packaging waste, with the most common item being fruit and vegetable packaging.

John, a Greenpeace volunteer, said: “I’m horrified to learn that just 12% of the plastic we produce is likely to be recycled, and that the rest ends up as pollution.

“I sort my plastic waste and recycle what I can, but it’s clear that this system can’t cope with all our waste, and that it’s up to Government and big brands to reduce the amount of plastic being produced in the first place.

“When we were out and about in Preston talking to local residents about The Big Plastic Count, people were really keen to take part, and to find out what really happens to the plastic they put into the bin or to the recycling bag. 

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“So I’m disappointed that our MPs Ben Wallace and Mark Hendrick didn’t take part in The Big Plastic Count, and urge them to call on the Government for the ambitious plastic reduction targets that we urgently need.”

This year, the government is starting to decide on legal targets to reduce waste. Greenpeace Preston is calling on the Government to set legally binding targets to almost entirely eliminate single-use plastic, starting with a target of a 50% cut in single-use plastic by 2025.

Alternatives should be affordable, reusable and accessible, including to those with disabilities. Preston volunteers are also calling for a Deposit Return Scheme for plastics re-use and recycling and for a ban on the dumping of our waste onto other countries, and for a moratorium on new incineration capacity.  

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