Investigation into UK household plastic waste begins

Investigation into UK household plastic waste begins

Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic are launching The Big Plastic Count today, 16th May 2022, looking into household plastic waste. The initiative wants to gather data to see how much plastic is passing through our homes and what happens to it.

The environmental organisations say, whilst the public are doing their bit to recycle, plastic waste is still everywhere and they want greater insight into how much plastic waste is being thrown away and where it is ending up after it leaves homes.

They say there’s “simply too much of it and recycling alone isn’t going to solve the plastic problem.”

To gain insight into the scale of the issue, Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic are asking the nation to count their plastic waste for one week in May, from 16th May to 22nd May. They want to know how much household plastic is thrown away and how much is really recycled.

Over 177,000 households have signed up to take part. They will be sent a free pack with everything needed to complete the count, including how to sort and categorise waste.

Participants will be able to submit their results online once the Big Plastic Count Week concludes on 22nd May. The results will then provide households with a personal plastic footprint and reveal what happens to plastic when it leaves homes.

The results from the nationwide investigation will be published in June 2022 and the organisations say they will use the data to demand change from government at a policy level, as well as convincing big brands and supermarkets to take ambitious action on plastic packaging.

Everyday Plastic states the timing of this evidence-gathering investigation is crucial as this year the government is starting to decide on legal targets to reduce plastic waste. The community interest company wants the government to set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025 (to be achieved by transitioning to reusable packaging) and ban sending the UK’s waste to other countries.

Tesco rolls out reusable packaging in ten stores

Tesco rolls out reusable packaging in ten stores

Food giant Tesco has partnered with global reuse platform Loop to introduce waste-free packaging into ten of their stores this month. The reusable containers can be cleaned, refilled and used again and again before eventually being recycled at the end of their life.

Customers will be able to buy 88 products in reusable packaging, which they can return to the store on their next shop. Well-known brands including Bisto, Brewdog, Heinz, Persil and Quaker Oats are on offer in the Loop reuse station, plus 35 Tesco own brand essentials.

The alternative to single-use packaging was piloted with home delivery since July 2020 and will now be available in the following ten stores:

  • Leicester Hamilton
  • Stratford Upon Avon
  • Ashby De La Zouch
  • Loughborough Rushes
  • Milton Keynes Kingston
  • Northampton South
  • Cambridge Newmarket Road
  • Wellingborough
  • MK Wolverton
  • Evesham


How it Works

Customers can buy products from the Loop area in store and pay as normal, plus a small deposit. The deposit is refunded via the Loop deposit app when the packaging is later returned. The durable containers are cleaned and refilled and can be reused many times.

Loop works with brands and manufacturers to enable refillable versions of their conventional single-use products. They partner with leading retailers to embed these offerings into their online eCommerce and physical retail stores. The platform aims to make reuse as convenient and accessible as single use.

The partnership with Loop differs to zero-waste shops which ask customers to bring their own containers to fill up from their refill stations.

Tesco estimates that if customers in the 10 selected stores switched their recyclable tomato ketchup, cola and washing up liquid bottles to the reusable Loop alternatives, the packaging would be used and reused more than two and a half million times a year. The supermarket says their next step is to scale up the service.