How to take part

Taking part is easy - there are 4 simple steps:


Sign up

Sign up now to receive your free digital pack with everything you need to take part.

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Your pack with everything you need to take part in The Big Plastic Count


If you ordered a postal pack, it should have arrived ahead of Count week. In it, we’ve provided a tally sheet to make it quick and easy for you to record all the different types of plastic packaging waste you use.

We suggest putting the tally sheet up somewhere near your bin before the Count starts, so that you and anyone you live with can see it.

If you order a digital pack you can print off your tally sheet at home, or if you don't have a printer at home, you could try your local library, or ask a friend to print it off for you.

Or alternatively you can tally online. If you’re tallying online, visit the submission page to save your results as you go, then submit them by 31 March. Remember, only one person in your household can use the tally online.

Get your digital pack in Welsh here.

Tally sheet to count your plastic


For one week, you need to count (almost!) 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 and about too.

Some people like to tally up each piece of plastic as they go along, others prefer to save up all of their plastic over the day or week (storing it in a bag or box) and then tally it up in one go. It’s totally up to you which way you choose!

Check out our plastic ID tool if you’re unsure about how to categorise a piece of plastic, and watch our how-to take part video.

When taking part, you might feel like the plastics crisis is your fault. It’s not. Only governments, brands and supermarkets have the means to provide alternatives that work for everyone. Your evidence will persuade them to do that.

ID your plastic
Participant tallying their plastic packaging


At the end of the week, whether you tallied as you went along, or you’re submitting all your data at once - submit your results online.

Thanks so much for doing this! Without your data, there is no investigation - we need thousands of people to take part to build even more evidence about what really happens to our plastic waste.

What happens if you need to skip a day? Don’t worry! When you submit your results you can just tell us how many days you counted for. You’ll have up until 31 March to submit your results.

Submit your results
Participant looking at their personal plastic footprint on a laptop screen


- Plasters
- Medication packaging
- Period products
- Nappies
- Poo bags
- Plastic cutlery
- Drinks cartons

We aren’t counting plastic items that are used for medical or sanitary reasons as these are vital for the people who need them.

We’re also not counting Tetra Pak items - the plasticised cardboard that many drinks cartons are made of. That’s because it’s hard to trace what happens to this once it’s thrown away, or sent for recycling. This also includes sandwich packaging, coffee cups, Pringles and similar products.

Check out our plastic ID tool if you’re unsure whether or not to include an item.

ID your plastic
Illustration of plastic packaging



Once you’ve submitted your results, you’ll get your household’s plastic footprint. If you took part in 2022 (using the same email address), you'll be able to compare your footprint from 2022, with 2024's. We’ll also share tips on how you can get involved in campaigning on the plastic waste crisis, as well as how to reduce your own plastic if that’s possible for you.

Once we’ve got all the data, scientists will crunch the numbers to work out the national results. These results will help prove that we need bigger, bolder action to solve the plastic problem. We need the UK government to push for a strong, ambitious, Global Plastics Treaty at the current UN talks.

The Global Plastics Treaty

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