The Big Plastic Count

Organised by Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace to get some accurate data on just how much plastic we throw away. I’ve saved and counted our plastic waste for the week 16-22 May 2022.

Campaign web site: The Big Plastic Count


Food and Drink
0Small bottles
1Large bottles
1Hard plastic caps and lids
14Peelable film lids
3Fruit and veg trays, pots and their hard lids
8Fruit, veg and salad bags, wrappers, nets
0Black pots, tubs, trays
17Pots, tubs, trays
28Snack bags, packets, wrappers
0Other hard food and drink packaging
30Other soft food and drink packaging
Cleaning and Toiletries
3Small bottles
0Large bottles
0Pots, tubs, tubes
0Squeezy tubes
0Other hard cleaning and toiletries packaging
0Other soft cleaning and toiletries packaging
Everything Else
2Other hard plastic packaging
10Other soft packaging

This is the result for our family of four, two adults and two children.

image of household plastic waste collected in 1 week
Plastic waste sorted into categories

The food waste is typical of any given week, the cleaning and toiletries section is going to vary more week to week because many of the products last longer than a week before they are used up.

We have a single bin recycling system. Only the plastic bottles and hard plastic trays and tubs are collected for potential recycling. The rest of the plastic will probably go to the Waterbeach landfill as part of the black bag waste. Given that the single recycling bin also includes glass, paper and cans, presumably the plastic is difficult to separate out as a clean and uncontaminated waste stream for recycling.