At the moment, one of the major environmental crises is plastic waste. Plastics are both an immediate and a long term danger for every living being on the planet. From the sealife getting caught in ring carriers and birds getting trapped in bottle cap rings, to microplastics getting into our bodies via our consumption of fish (who are eating the plastics that end up in the ocean), it’s safe to say it’s a problem we need to deal with now. And that's where The Big Plastic Count comes in.

The Big Plastic Count 16-22 May / Greenpeace x Everyday Plastic

The Big Plastic Count 16-22 May / Greenpeace x Everyday Plastic

Next week marks a huge environmental initiative for eco warriors Greenpeace and their collaborators Everyday Plastic. The Big Plastic Count is part of the campaign groups' mission to put pressure on supermarkets, brands and the government to reduce their single-use plastics and the great thing is, we can all get involved!

All you have to do is count the plastic you recycle or throw away for one week. It doesn’t matter how you choose to do this, you just have to tally up all the bottles, film lids, fruit and veg trays, crisp packets, yogurt pots, wet wipe packets and more that you go threw in that week and submit your results to the official Big Plastic Count website.

The initiative aims to provide the government with proper stats when it comes to plastic waste, as they begin to create legal targets for plastic waste reduction. Greenpeace want to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by the year 2025, and have the government enforce a ban on depositing UK waste in other countries.

Among supporters of The Big Plastic Count are Springwatch presenter Chris Packham. 

“It’s ridiculous that we’re still swamped with plastic waste when it makes so many of us furious,” he said in a statement. “The natural world can’t cope. We need to find out what’s really happening to plastic that’s supposedly recycled.”

Joining the Big Plastic Count means you can find out your plastic footprint, but it’s not about feeling bad for buying single-use plastics; after all, the average person isn’t the one making them. We’re just trying to live our lives in ways that are cost effective and convenient, and the government and supermarkets have a responsibility to provide everyone with environmentally friendly alternatives.

MORE: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce: Five things you can do to help your environment without spending a penny

If you’re not sure how to get started with calculating your waste, we suggest bunging all plastic packaging into a separate bin or bin bag to your recycling and your food and medical waste, then going through it all at the end of the week. It might be a messy job, so tool up with a pair of rubber gloves. If you live in a single or two-person household, it might be easy enough to tot up your waste daily, but we recommend an end-of-the-week tally-up for larger families.

The Big Plastic Count takes place from May 16-22. Don’t forget to submit your tallies by May 31st for them to be counted!

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