When you sign up you’ll be asked for your mailing address to receive a physical pack. Of course it’s plastic-free and printed on recycled paper, but you can also opt out if you’d rather download a digital version.
We’d love community groups and teams of colleagues to get together and join The Big Plastic Count! Simply sign up individually and then you can swap tips during the week and share your results between yourselves.
Most packs will arrive a week before the count in May. If there’s an issue though you can access the digital pack here or it’s in the email you recieved when you first signed up. It includes a printable tally sheet – or you can tally online too.
Every single piece of plastic packaging waste that you throw away - that’s plastic waste that you put in the bin and plastic you put in the recycling. Try to count anything you throw away while out of the home too.
Don’t worry if you miss a day of counting – when you submit your results you can select how many days you counted for.
If everyone does 7 whole days and counts all their plastic waste we get better data, but if you miss something, don’t worry! Your data is still important.
Use your instinct and judgement to categorise your plastic, you’ll probably get it right! But if you’re still unsure and would like some more help, visit our help page where you can find a long list of examples and definitions.
Don’t include: plasters, medication packaging, non-dairy milk/juice cartons (TetraPak), nappies, dog poo bags, plastic cutlery or period products.
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.
Dispose of your plastic waste in the same way you would normally – reuse what you can, recycle what you can and throw away the rest. We know it may feel disheartening, but you’re doing your bit, and with the evidence you’re helping us build, we’ll push the government, big brands and supermarkets to do theirs.
Yes, count it in the ‘Other soft plastic packaging’ category which is in the ‘Everything Else’ section of the tally.
Thank you for litter picking! Please don’t count the plastics that you collect on your litter picks as we only want you to count your household waste so our results aren’t skewed.
If you’re genuinely going to re-use a piece of plastic then you don’t need to count it, especially if it’s saved you from buying a new bottle, seed tray etc.
No, it’s really easy once you get going! The tally sheet (or digital tally) has been designed to make it quick and easy for you to record all the different types of plastic packaging waste you throw away. Have a read through the How to take part page if you need any more information.
Please scan the QR code at the bottom of your tally sheet or visit https://thebigplasticcount.com/submit to get to the submission page. Remember – you won’t be able to submit your results until after The Big Plastic Count week (16-22 May), unless you’re taking part with your school.
The deadline for submitting your results is 31 May.
If you’re having trouble logging in it may be that you are re-using an old login link. If you have successfully used the login link once, you should be able to go the submission page again and it should remember you (and all of your previously inputted data!) >> https://thebigplasticcount.com/submit. If the page doesn’t remember you, please generate a new login link and use that to access the online tally form.
It’s fantastic that you want to empower your pupils to be a part of ending the plastic waste crisis! Registering your class or school to take part in The Big Plastic Count is easy and you can sign up here: thebigplasticcount.com/sign-up/schools
Once you sign up, you’ll be sent a step-by-step teacher guide, class powerpoint, learning activities, a pack to help pupils take part in the survey, and even a ready-made letter home to parents and guardians.
We know that teachers have a lot on their plates, and so we’ve made it as easy as possible to get your pupils involved. Our education packs have been written by a teacher, with teachers in mind, and include everything you’ll need to take part (see the question above for the pack contents).
It’s fantastic to hear that you want your class to join us to present the results to the government at Westminster in June – we’d love to have you there! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest and we’ll be in touch.
As well as finding out your class’s footprint, as a teacher you’ll also have the option to see and print your class members’ individual plastic footprints too. Once a pupil has submitted their data, you’ll be able to see it by selecting your class from your dashboard, viewing the pupil’s data and selecting ‘Generate Pupil Footprint’.
That’s no problem! If you select your class from your dashboard, and select the pupil whose data has been inputted incorrectly, you’ll be able to amend their data.
You can still take part at home if you’ve registered as a teacher! You can sign up here (you’ll need to use a different email address): https://thebigplasticcount.com/sign-up. You’ll then be sent a pack to take part with everyone at home.
Call our team on 020 4525 3241 and they can post you everything you’ll need to take part, including the Tally Sheet and ID Sheet. Once you’ve completed the survey, post your Tally Sheet back to us and we’ll make sure your count counts in the data we present to the government.
The design of a structure or environment so that it is understood, accessible and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age or ability. Lots of reusable alternatives to plastic aren’t currently universally designed, meaning that they’re unusable for many people. Read our disability justice page to learn more
Yes, medical products are not part of the count because they’re essential. It’s not appropriate for every type of packaging to transition to reusable options. For example, some medical equipment is sterile on use and then disposed of. Medication also comes in plastic packaging, and many medical supplies that people with disabilities rely on are plastic too.
The aim for The Big Plastic Count is to get lots and lots of people involved, counting their household plastic packaging. One week is enough time to collect useful data without taking up too much of people's time.
Once we have an individual 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.
It’s not possible for the survey to specifically track where plastic from your household is sent.
Vital data about quantity and type of plastic packaging is being generated through this citizen science research project. Assumptions about how much plastic is collected and where this plastic is sent to is from RECOUP and WRAP data.
Because TetraPak is a multi-material packaging, and different parts enter different waste streams. The same applies to sandwich packaging, coffee cups, Pringles tubes and other similar products that have coating and/or don’t allow you to separate the different materials.
Plastic is part of the climate change problem. Plastic emits greenhouse gases at every single stage of its lifecycle; if we produce less plastic, we can reduce emissions. The reduce, reuse, refill, recycle economy we’re pushing for is a vital step towards tackling climate change.
We can’t solve the plastic problem without big changes that only the government can make happen. Ultimately it’s the government that needs to get producers to stop overproducing and switch to reusable packaging that caters to everyone's needs.
We want them to set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025 (by switching to reusable packaging that meets everyone’s needs), ban dumping our waste on other countries, and implement an all-in Deposit Return Scheme.