Nearly 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging are thrown away by UK households every year, and just 12% is recycled in the UK.

It’s time the government got serious about tackling the plastic crisis. Your school can help by taking part in The Big Plastic Count!

Counting Down










people and you!

For one week in March, thousands of schools, households, community groups and businesses will be coming together to count their plastic waste. And we want your class to join them.

The investigation will reveal how much plastic we are throwing away in the UK, and find out what really happens to it afterwards. We'll use the results to convince UK ministers to lead the way at the global talks that could finally phase out plastic pollution for good.

Young people have the power to make a real difference and help shape the future of the planet. That's why we want to get as many schools to take part as possible.

If you are an individual or household, you'll be able to sign-up from January.


Want to know how to take part? Watch our video

How it works

Taking part with your class is easy. There are 4 simple steps:



We’ll give you access to your own school dashboard with everything you and your class need to take part.


Get counting

At home, pupils will count the plastic packaging they throw away for one week, from 11-17 March.

Get counting


With a personalised link, your class can easily submit their results themselves online, or you can do it together at school. Results will need to be submitted by 31 March.



See how much plastic you collectively used and what happens to it! You’ll get a certificate and tips for how you and your class can use your results to make a difference.



School class

As soon as you register you’ll have access to everything you need to take part. This includes:

Resources to get started: a simple teacher’s guide, a PowerPoint presentation for lessons or assemblies, classroom activities and template letters to staff and parents.

Resources to help you and your class count at home: a ‘How-To’ explainer video, printable tally sheet to make counting really easy, and from March there will be a Plastic ID Tool on our website to help you and your class categorise your plastic.

Plastic footprint action toolkit: you can generate your plastic footprint as individuals, a class and for the whole school. There will be a downloadable certificate for taking part, a guide on how to become a Plastic Clever School, and from early 2024 there will also be a guide to hosting a results event.



What is the Global Plastics Treaty?

Right now, world leaders are negotiating The Global Plastics Treaty; an international legal agreement to prevent the harmful impacts of plastic. This United Nations Treaty is a once-in-a-generation chance to protect our planet from plastic pollution. If the UK government, with its powerful position on the world stage, champions bold, decisive action, we can end the age of plastic.

What if we use a lot of plastic?

Please remember, this isn't about feeling guilty about the amount of plastic you use! Too much single-use plastic is produced and there aren't reusable alternatives that suit everyone's needs. Together we’re gathering the evidence needed to push for proper action on plastic.

How do you work out my footprint?

Once we have a school or household’s count results, we apply national data on different types of plastic to calculate how much, on average, would be collected for recycling, what’s then likely to happen to it, and what that means for your footprint.

Can my pupils get their own individual footprint?

As well as finding out your class’s footprint, as a teacher you’ll have the option to see and print your class members’ individual plastic footprints too. If other classes have taken part, you can also view your school's footprint.

Read all our FAQs


Partners & Supporters

Green Schools Project logo Common Seas logo Kids against Plastic logo British Science Week
Find out more


The Big Plastic Count highlights the national and world plastic problem, inspiring schools to take decisive action using their fantastic resources to embed into the children's learning. It has taught every child and adult at our school that however big or small everyone can do their bit to make an impact on our world. This is why we will be taking part again in The Big Plastic Count!

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Edd Moore

Damers First School

The Big Plastic Count 2022 was the start of a very exciting journey for our school! We can’t wait to refuel our participation in such a great cause by taking part in March 2024, with a fresh new cohort of new, more environmentally aware modern minds.

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Rebecca Razzaque

Kenmore Park Junior School

Our year 8 class really enjoyed The Big Plastic Count. There is something quite powerful about having to count your week’s plastic waste and consider what happens to it next. A well set up campaign that is easy to run and fits in well with our lessons. We will definitely take part again.

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Bernadette Wiley

Cleeve School

Having counted my plastic waste for an entire year, I know how powerful this investigation can be in helping to understand the true extent of the plastic problem. The Big Plastic Count is a simple yet impactful way to discover your household plastic footprint, whilst contributing vital evidence to push the government for long overdue change.

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Daniel Webb

Founder Everyday Plastic

It’s ridiculous that we’re still swamped with plastic waste when it makes so many of us furious. The natural world can’t cope with it, and we need to find out what’s really happening to plastic that’s supposedly recycled. That’s why I’ll be joining The Big Plastic Count – let’s do this!

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Chris Packham

Wildlife TV presenter & conservationist

Everything on Planet Earth is connected so if we don’t drastically lower or eradicate our use of single-use plastics they will pollute the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. I am getting involved in The Big Plastic Count because I know as individuals we can make a difference and I want to be part of the change I long to see.

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Bonnie Wright

Actor and Director

Consequences of the plastic crisis are disproportionately felt by poorer communities and communities of colour. We must bring an end to this injustice. Let’s push the government to take ambitious action on plastic – join The Big Plastic Count now!

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Maja Darlington

Greenpeace Campaigner

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