How do I order my pack?

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.

Can we take part as a group?

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.

My pack hasn’t arrived yet, what can I do?

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.

What plastic am I counting?

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.

What do I do if I miss a day of counting?

Don’t worry if you miss a day of counting – when you submit your results you can select how many days you counted for.

What if I miss an item of plastic?

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.

How do I work out which category to put an item in?

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.

What aren’t we counting?

Don’t include: plasters, medication packaging, non-dairy milk/juice cartons (TetraPak), nappies, dog poo bags, plastic cutlery or period products.

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.

What should I do with my plastic afterwards?

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.

Do I count pet food packaging?

Yes, count it in the ‘Other soft plastic packaging’ category which is in the ‘Everything Else’ section of the tally.

I do litter picks, should I count all of that plastic waste too?

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.

Do I count plastics that I’m going to re-use? eg. for eco bricks, tubs and pots for seedlings etc.

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.

Is counting complicated?

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.

How do I submit my results?

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.

When do I need to submit my results by?

The deadline for submitting your results is 31 May.

What can I do if the login link isn’t working?

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.

How can I get my school/class involved?

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

What will I receive to help me take part?

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.

Will this be a lot of extra work for me?

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).

How can I take my class to the day at Westminster?

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 help@thebigplasticcount.com to register your interest and we’ll be in touch.

Can my pupils get their own individual footprint?

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’.

What if my pupil enters their data incorrectly?

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.

How can I take part with my household if I’ve registered as a teacher?

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.

How do I take part if I don’t have access to the internet?

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.

What does ‘universally designed’ mean?

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

Isn’t plastic essential for medical products?

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.

Why is The Big Plastic Count only over one week

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.

How do you work out my footprint?

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.

Does the survey track my plastic?

It’s not possible for the survey to specifically track where plastic from your household is sent.

What data sets does the survey use?

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.

Why aren’t we counting TetraPak?

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.

Why are you working on plastic when climate change is the biggest threat?

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.

Why are you focusing on the government rather than individual plastic consumption?

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.

What are we actually asking the government to do?

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.

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