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Greenpeace Volunteers Bring the Big Plastic Count to Guildford

Published on: 8 May, 2022
Updated on: 10 May, 2022

Greenpeace and other environmental volunteers were in Guildford on Saturday, May 7 raising awareness of The Big Plastic Count.

Families, households, businesses and community groups are all being asked to count their plastic packaging waste for a week between May 16 and 22, record the different types they throw away and submit their results online.

The data collected will be used to focus the government on the issue as they decide this year on legal targets to reduce plastic waste.

Greenpeace volunteers Neil Pitcairn, Debbie Morcroft and Sophie Gordon were encouraging Guildford shoppers in North Street to join in the Big Plastic Count between May 16 and 22. Sophie said it was a chance to join in a citizen science project with real benefits.

Greenpeace says the count will contribute to an overall national picture, filling a crucial evidence gap on exactly how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes. It says the results will demonstrate the scale of the plastic waste problem and pressure the government and supermarkets to tackle the root cause of the plastic crisis.

The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic.

Neil Pitcairn, Greenpeace Surrey’s local group co-ordinator said: “I will be counting my plastic for one week between May 16 and 22 and submitting it to get my personal plastic footprint. I want to find out what really happens to my plastic waste.

“More than 100,000 people from across the UK including over 1,200 from Surrey have already signed up, as have over 50 MPs and over 1,000 schools. That’s hugely encouraging, but there’s still plenty of time left to sign-up at”

A straw poll taken on the day indicates a strong preference for government to legislate on reducing single use plastic.

Greenpeace Surrey is calling on the government to set a target to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, to introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic and ban the dumping of our waste on to other countries.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Greenpeace shows that more than four in five people (81%) want the UK government to introduce targets to reduce plastic waste. The figure is even higher in the south of England at 86%.

The survey also shows how almost four in five (77%) people in the UK recycle plastic products in order to reduce plastic waste. However, three in four (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after disposing of it.

The UK produces more plastic waste per person than almost any other country in the world, second only to the USA. In 2018, the UK generated 5.2 million tonnes, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.

Talking about plastic packaging and waste in Guildford.

Surrey alone produces 11,500 tonnes of plastic waste with around 1,000 tonnes coming from Guildford. 55% is recycled but around 40% is incinerated to produce electricity, without CO2 being captured. See Surrey Accused Of Complacency Over Static Recycling Rates

Local groups are also getting involved.

ZERO Carbon Guildford is hosting a talk by Greenpeace Youth Speaker, Becca Cole, who will discuss the plastic pollution problem and how ZERO is supporting Greenpeace in The Big Plastic Count on Saturday, May 14 at 1pm to 1.30pm in Zero at the bottom of North Street.

Just turn up says Zero volunteer Steph Bleach who said: “This will be a chance to put pressure on the government to act.”

There will also be a talk on The Big Plastic Count at Solar Sisters cafe/refill shop at 86 North Street on Thursday, May 12, at 6.30pm.

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Responses to Greenpeace Volunteers Bring the Big Plastic Count to Guildford

  1. Steph Bleach Reply

    May 10, 2022 at 2:09 pm

    It’s great seeing so many Guildfordians sign up to The Big Plastic Count. It doesn’t matter your socio-economic background or your political persuasion, plastic pollution affects us all and it’s something that the people of Guildford all agree needs addressing.

    There will be a great talk at Solar Sisters this Thursday at 6.30pm, discussing the campaign and why it’s so necessary. Bring your refill jars while you’re at it and reduce your single-use plastic while you stock up on your staple ingredients.

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