The Environment Correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

A mountain of plastic.Image source, PA Media
Image caption, Some types of plastics are easier to recycle than others

Organisers of Britain's biggest ever survey of household plastic waste have called for immediate action to tackle what they say are jaw-dropping findings.

According to the results of the Big Plastic Count, the average household threw away 66 pieces of plastic in a week.

The UK is estimated to throw out 100 billion pieces of plastic a year.

Nearly 100,000 households were involved in the survey to document the amount of plastic they dispose of.

The results show that recycling alone is not a solution for reducing plastic waste.

The amount of plastic waste is jaw- dropping.

We can sort this with recycling.

The people taking part in the survey were asked to record what type of plastic they used. The majority of the plastic was from food and drink packaging.

According to the survey, the UK retail industry is leading the way in protecting the environment by reducing single-use packaging.

The ability to remove branded single-use plastic is challenging but can be unlocked with partnerships and collaboration with producers.

Plastic bottlesImage source, Reuters
Image caption, Official figures state that 45% of our recycling is transported overseas

More than 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging waste was created in the UK, of which 44.2% is recycled, according to the latest statistics published by the UK government. Half of the recycling goes to the UK and the other half goes to other countries. Turkey is one of the most popular destinations.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs plans to tackle single use plastic through the Environment Act. They pointed out that measures had already been taken to restrict the supply of plastic straws and cotton buds and that a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles was being finalized.

Some plastic is harder to recycle than others. Only 8% of plastic films are recycled according to data from Recoup.

More than half of the plastic we throw out is hard to recycle. According to the report, only 12% of our plastic waste is recycled in the UK.

"Recycling doesn't work, we all know it, and if we think things are being recycled, we can carry on the way we are." The chain needs to be addressed further up. Reducing the amount produced will reduce the amount thrown away.

It's similar to what Boris Johnson said to a group of school children when he told them that recycling doesn't work.

  • Plastic
  • Plastic pollution
  • Recycling