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How you can take part in the Big Plastic Count

How you can take part in the Big Plastic Count

Are you aware how much plastic you and your organisation use?

This week – March 11-17, 2024 – is the Big Plastic Count where you are encouraged to count all your plastic waste for a week and upload the numbers via The Big Plastic Count website

We produce so much waste and unless we begin to realise just how much, government and producers will do little to change this status quo.

A few facts to help you understand the plastic problem:

  • Less than 10 per cent of all plastic produced has been ‘recycled’
  • The UK alone ‘throws away’ 100 billion items of plastic every year
  • Plastic items can take any time between 20-600 hundred years to decompose – for example each disposable nappy is estimated to take 450 years to bio-degrade
  • Each 30g plastic water bottle uses 250mls of oil to make and causes 100g of carbon to be emitted
  • It has been reported in a Japanese study that microplastics now make up part of the atmosphere and has been recorded in rainfall
  • The deepest part of the ocean, Challengeer Deep in the Marianna Trench 11,000 meters below the surface (thats 2,000m higher than Everest) hosts some of the most biodiverse creatures, unfortunately scientists have also found a plastic bag, at these depths too.
  • Approx two thirds of UK plastic ends up in Indonmesia and Malaysia, where the method of destruction is to incinerate the plastic, which creates toxic fumes. The people of these regions are experiencing increased rates of cancers and severe respiratory health problems from a direct result of dealing with our waste
  • Fertiliser that is used to aid crop growth contains sewage sludge, the byproduct of waste water treatments, a recent study in Wales revealed that 650 million micro plastic particles in the sludge ended up in the fertiliser used on famland. These are taken up in the plants that end up on your plate.

So what can you do?

  • Count your plastics – get an idea of just how much waste as an individual, or family you are actually prdoducing
  • See how you can reduce your single use (normally impossible to recycle) items – buy as many items as you can when you shop not wrapped in plastic.
  • Reuse plastic pots, or bottles – grow plants in them, such as lettuce
  • Don’t forget that reusable bottle, or coffee cup when you are out and about

Find out more about Active Sussex’s Environmental Social Governance policy here

This graphic shows how long it takes for plastric to bio-degrade. For example a nappy or a plastic bottle wil take 450 years to bio-degrade.
How long different plastics will take to bio-degrade
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