Leading environmental organisation focussed on reducing plastic waste, called Everyday Plastic, conducted a survey last year into how much plastic waste was used in UK households. Over 480 people across the UK collected their plastic waste during lockdown, as part of the survey, and recorded nearly 23,000 items of plastic waste. Of the recorded waste, only 5% of it would end up being recycled in the UK, meaning 21,850 items of plastic waste from those households would end up in landfill or getting into our water system. Based on the results from this survey, if all households in the UK threw out the estimated average, that would mean that 508 MILLION pieces of domestic plastic waste are being thrown away EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
So what can you do to reduce the plastic waste problem?
Let’s take a look at some of the key statistics from the survey.
68% of the plastic waste was used to wrap, package or consume food and drink. The biggest contributor to the problem is food and drink packaging. Although we have seen a huge rise in demand for reusable cups and containers, we need to do more as a society to reduce the plastic waste problem and move to zero waste solutions where we can. Lots of brands are now trying to make a concerted effort to improve the plastic waste from their packaging, but there is still more you can do. Why not try making a simple swap at home to reduce your food and drink plastic waste packaging.
Check out our reusable coffee cups, that you can refill on the go (prices start from £9.99). You may also like our reusable food wraps, which include beeswax wraps (£15.00) or elasticated cotton bowl covers (£16.00). If you often find yourself eating food on the go, why not check out these chic vegan leather lunch bags (from £15.00) and remember to stay hydrated by using a reusable water bottle (prices from £14.00).
Only 37% of the plastic waste collected is considered recyclable by councils in the UK. You can find out what plastic waste your council will recycle for you by visiting your local Government’s website. Rules can vary per city & county so it’s always worth checking and ensuring that you are recycling everything that is accepted. Unfortunately, the survey found that 65% of the plastic waste was soft, thin, flimsy plastic, hardly any of which is recycled in the UK. So the best way to tackle this really is to go plastic free whenever you can.
These figures have enabled Everyday Plastic to estimate that nearly 3.5 billion individual pieces of household plastic waste could be thrown away in a single week. By applying the average household waste to the population of the country, the figure illustrates the huge impact single-use plastic packaging has on the waste system and environment.
Daniel Webb, from Everyday Plastic said “The Everyday Plastic Survey is designed to fast track our awareness and understanding, which in turn leads to more responsible consumer choices. We believe that this encourages – or ultimately obliges – businesses and governments to improve their practise and policy. This project can show that individual actions – even the small ones – make a big difference.”
We’d love to hear from you what changes you’re making at home to reduce your plastic waste. Leave us a comment below and don’t forget to check out our online store for lots of great plastic free solutions.