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University of Portsmouth partners with Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic for the UK’s Largest Household Plastic Waste Survey

Revolution Plastics Institute

5 min read Partner content

The Big Plastic Count represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the public to influence the UN Global Plastics Treaty.

From Devon to Dundee, across all 650 parliamentary constituencies, over 62,000 participants, including nearly 8,000 school classes, are ready to count their plastic waste for The Big Plastic Count.

The return of the UK’s largest survey into household plastic waste is set to take place on 11-17 March 2024 and organisers hope that the results will inform Government action. Participants can sign up until 11 March 2024.

The national plastic-counting campaign returns for its second time and sees Greenpeace UK and the non-profit organisation Everyday Plastic invite individuals, households, schools, community groups and businesses to take part in the largest plastic investigation of its kind.

This year, the Revolution Plastics Institute at the University of Portsmouth is supporting the campaign as an academic partner. The team will be taking The Big Plastic Count results, available the week commencing 15 April, as evidence to help inform negotiators at the next round of treaty talks at The Global Plastics Treaty INC 4 in Ottawa, Canada from 23 April to 29 April 2024. 

We’re delighted to be partnering with Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK to support The Big Plastic Count. Never before has there been such an urgent need to find solutions to the global plastic crisis. As a leading institution in the field of plastics research, we can provide evidence-based research to support the count results. 

– Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the Revolution Plastics Institute

The Revolution Plastics Institute will also be carrying out in-depth follow-up analysis of the results as further evidence to support key policy recommendations at the Treaty negotiations. 

Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the Revolution Plastics Institute, says: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK to support The Big Plastic Count. Never before has there been such an urgent need to find solutions to the global plastic crisis. As a leading institution in the field of plastics research, we can provide evidence-based research to support the count results. 

“The Global Plastics treaty is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring about real change. For the treaty to work – the targets need to be clearly defined and this can only be done with quality and robust evidence. To achieve this, policymakers, businesses, researchers, and campaigners must work together and be radical in their thinking to develop a coordinated global strategy to tackle plastic pollution.” 

"The natural world can't cope with all our plastic rubbish. The Big Plastic Count is gathering even more evidence to push for plastic action in the UK and also globally, in a new UN Global Plastics Treaty focused on reducing plastic production. 

– Chris Packham, Wildlife TV Presenter & Conservationist

Laura Burley, Project Lead, The Big Plastic Count, Greenpeace UK, says: “The Big Plastic Count 2024 could be the tipping point for UK government action on plastic. The UK government still hasn't set a legally binding plastic reduction target so we're back to gather even more proof so that UK politicians have no excuse not to act on plastic waste at home and overseas. 

“The Big Plastic Count 2024 is special because ministers can take our evidence to important UN Global Plastics Treaty talks in order to push for a new binding international agreement to reduce plastic production by at least 75 per cent by 2040. Plastic waste is a global problem, and together, we can make sure it is tackled globally." 

Almost a quarter of a million people participated in The Big Plastic Count in 2022, revealing:

  • UK households throw nearly two billion pieces of plastic packaging away weekly.
  • Just 12 per cent is recycled in the UK, with the rest being burned, shipped abroad, or languished in landfills. 83 per cent of plastic recorded was from food and drink packaging waste, the most common item being fruit and vegetable packaging.

Having counted my plastic waste for an entire year, I know exactly how powerful this investigation can be in helping to understand the true extent of the plastic problem. 

– Daniel Webb, Founder and Director, Everyday Plastic

Daniel Webb, Founder and Director, Everyday Plastic, says: “Having counted my plastic waste for an entire year, I know exactly how powerful this investigation can be in helping to understand the true extent of the plastic problem. 

“Nearly 250,000 people took part in The Big Plastic Count in 2022, coming together to show that urgent change is not just what we need, but what we want. The Big Plastic Count is a simple yet impactful way to discover your household plastic footprint whilst contributing vital evidence to pressure our government to lead the way at the Global Plastics Treaty talks.” 

"The natural world can't cope with all our plastic rubbish”, adds Chris Packham, Wildlife TV Presenter & Conservationist. 

“We've been calling for action on plastic for years, but the government hasn't listened. That's why this year, The Big Plastic Count is gathering even more evidence to push for plastic action in the UK and also globally, in a new UN Global Plastics Treaty focused on reducing plastic production. I've signed up for The Big Plastic Count. Will you sign up, too?" 

Registration is now open to sign up for The Big Plastic Count 2024: https://thebigplasticcount.com/sign-up.

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