UK public bins almost 100bn pieces of plastic each year

On average each household throws away 66 pieces of plastic packaging a day, resulting in 96.6 billion pieces in the UK each year, according to the Big Plastic Count Campaign.

The campaign which calls on the government to cut 50% of single-use plastic by 2025, saw just under 100,000 UK households counting their plastic packaging waste.

The results collected by global movement, Greenpeace and social enterprise, Everyday Plastic saw just 12% of plastic waste being recycled, with over three quarters of waste (83%) coming from food and drink packaging.

Fruit and vegetable packaging accounted for the most plastic waste with over one million pieces, followed closely by snack bags, packets and wrappers.

Just under half (46%) of UK household plastic waste is incinerated while 25% is buried in landfill and only 12% is likely to be reprocessed at recycling facilities in the UK.

READ MORE: Iceland misses plastic neutral goal as Richard Walker says he cannot “achieve the impossible”

“The Big Plastic Count has galvanised nearly a quarter of a million people to investigate how much they throw away and what happens to their plastic waste,” Everyday Plastic founder, Daniel Webb said.

“These new figures lay bare the responsibility of the government, big brands and supermarkets to tackle this crisis, and they must rise to the challenge right now – there is no time to waste.”

Greenpeace UK plastics campaigner, Chris Thorne added: “This is a jaw-dropping amount of plastic waste and should give ministers pause for thought.”

“Just 12% of all this plastic is likely to actually end up being recycled in the UK. The rest becomes pollution, whether through landfilling, incineration or export to countries all around the world, gradually contaminating everything – our water, our food, even the air we breathe.”

“Pretending we can sort this with recycling is just industry greenwash. We’re creating a hundred billion bits of waste plastic a year, and recycling is hardly making a dent. What else do the government need to know before they act?”

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