Household plastic waste has increased over lockdown

Household plastic waste has increased over lockdown

The amount of plastic waste in British households has increased significantly during the COVID-19 lockdown, particularly with non-recyclables.

The Everyday Plastic Survey, which included data from 483 people throughout the UK, has revealed that households got through an average of 128 bits of plastic waste in a week throughout lockdown.

A similar survey pre-lockdown found it was only 99 pieces of plastic waste per week.

The survey, which took place over three months, also found that 68 per cent of the plastic waste came from food and drink products.

65 per cent of the plastic logged was soft plastic - plastic which can be scrunched by hands, such as salad bags, bread bags or crisps packets. Soft plastic is rarely recycled in the UK.

Only 37 per cent of the plastic waste items that were recorded in the survey were recyclable.

The amount of plastic waste in each house differed drastically, with the highest amount of plastic used and collected in a week by a single household at 734 pieces. The lowest was just 17 pieces of plastic.

Using the average of 128 pieces and scaling the numbers up, it's predicted that 3.6 billion pieces of household plastic waste are being disposed of in the UK every single week.

Daniel Webb, the creator of the Everyday Plastic survey, said the increase of deliveries in lockdown will have contributed to the increase of plastic waste.

“The outcome of the Everyday Plastic Survey supports assumptions that domestic plastic waste increased under lockdown conditions, particularly fruit and veg packaging, snack wrappers, parcel bags and PPE,” he 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 practice and policy.”

You can read more about Everyday Plastic and its upcoming nationwide campaign here.

You can also find Daniel Webb's book, 'What We Throw Away and Where It Goes' here. All proceeds of the book go towards funding Everyday Plastic's national survey.


1 comment


  • Sandra Wilson

    Hi I have made major changes to my life with the sole purpose of drastically reduce using plastic. I am astounded so many people don’t care.
    Supermarkets and many online businesses don’t seem to care either.


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