The Big Plastic Count

May 16th – 22nd 2022

Join the UK’s BIGGEST ever plastic investigation

We’re super excited to be working with Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace on this ground-breaking project that will uncover the truth about how much we throw away and what happens to it – and prove that bold action is needed to solve the growing plastic problem.

The Big Plastic Count is the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste.

The Problem

We’re using too much plastic, and there aren’t enough reusable options that work for everyone. The UK produces more plastic packaging per person than almost any other country in the world – only the US is worse. And if things carry on as they are, the amount of plastic waste produced around the world is set to double by 2040! The issue has never been more pressing – we need to take urgent action now!

Recycling alone isn’t going to solve the plastic problem. We’re producing too much in the first place and our recycling systems can’t cope. But at the moment, there’s nowhere near enough evidence to show how much plastic leaves UK households. And most of us have no idea where it really ends up when we throw it in the bin or the recycling. We need more evidence so we can convince the government, big brands and supermarkets to get on with making the bigger changes we need. Which is exactly what this investigation will provide!

The Solution

The Big Plastic Count will uncover the truth about how much household plastic we throw away – and how much is really recycled. The nation will come together to count their plastic waste for one week in May. The new evidence we gather together will be crucial to convince the government, big brands and supermarkets to finally take ambitious action on plastic packaging.

So, we’re joining our friends at Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace in asking everyone to come together for The Big Plastic Count to tally your bottles, packets and other plastic bits for just one week – 16-22 May 2022. 

We’re calling for households of all shapes and sizes, schools, community groups and businesses from all over the country to join in. The more people that take part, the more new evidence we can build to reveal the true scale of the plastic problem – and the more power we’ll have to push for change.

This is an opportunity to come together and be part of something big and to create real, long lasting change when it comes to tackling the problem of plastic pollution.

This year, the government is starting to decide targets to reduce plastic waste. With your help, The Big Plastic Count will gather the proof we need to push the government to get it right. It’s time they set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025 (to be achieved by transitioning to reusable packaging which caters to everyone’s needs), and put a ban on sending our waste to other countries.


Interested in being part of the solution? It’s easy to get involved! All you need to do is count your plastic packaging waste for one week in May, record the different types you throw away and enter your results into our website. When you sign up, you’ll be given everything you need for the week to make counting and sharing your results quick and easy.

Once the count is done, you’ll be shown your household’s plastic footprint, revealing what really happens to it once it leaves your home, and evidence of the true scale of the UK’s plastic problem.

City to Sea has worked with The Big Plastic Count on a printed guide which is full of easy tips simple switches to help you reduce plastic in day-to-day life. This will be sent to you after taking part in the count to help you take action to reduce the amount of plastic your household uses.

But remember, solving the plastic problem definitely isn’t about us feeling bad when we need to use plastic, or about feeling it’s all down to what each of us can do individually. We need to stop the flow of plastic production and to do so, we need reusable alternatives that are affordable, accessible and appropriate for all. These big changes need to come from the government, brands and supermarkets – and by taking part in The Big Plastic Count, that’s what YOU’RE helping us prove.


The Big Plastic Count is calling on the government to make the following big changes. Join us by taking part and you’ll help put pressure on the government to achieve these goals:

  • Set a target to reduce the UK’s single-use plastic by 50% by 2025. This 50% reduction should be achieved by making 25% of packaging reusable by 2025, rising to 50% by 2030. Reusable alternatives must be universally designed to work for everyone’s needs and the decisions about items being eliminated must be informed by the disabled community.
  • Ban plastic waste exports, starting with an immediate ban on all exports to non-OECD member countries and mixed plastic waste to OECD member countries. A complete ban should be in place by no later than 2025.
  • Implement an all-in Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling AND reuse. This should be for drinks containers whose scope of materials and deposit level is consistent across the UK.

Plastic-free Living

From your wardrobe to your kitchen, and even out to the garden, we’ve got your plastic-free needs covered. Check out our top tips for living with less plastic.

Planet-Friendly Periods with Natracare

Planet-Friendly Periods with Natracare

Planet-friendly periods with NatracareLet’s #BeKind to our bodies and the planet A bloody good period for everyone. Here at City to Sea, we’re committed to ensuring everyone has a bloody good period. Since 2017, through our Plastic-Free Periods campaign, we’ve been...

read more
Plastic-Free Easter

Plastic-Free Easter

Here are our top tips to make it an eco-friendly egg-stravaganza and avoid the unnecessary plastic, and enjoy a plastic-free Easter.

read more
Share This