The Big Plastic Count: Consumers confront their plastic footprint

The Big Plastic Count: Consumers confront their plastic footprint

But when most affordable products come with plastic packaging, are we as consumers really in control?

For one week in May, more than 100,000 people in the UK carefully counted their plastic waste at home in a national investigation into plastic use and recycling

 It was called the Big Plastic Count, run by organisations Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic

So how did they get on, and what did they discover about their dependency on a material that has become a part of our everyday lives?

Jules Birkby, 41, and her family of four threw away 124 pieces of plastic during their week of counting

The packaging in party bags and sticker packs for her daughter Emmy's sixth birthday was the most frustrating, she says.

She had thought her household was quite low plastic and so was "shocked" by how much they used.

 "It's the hidden stuff that isn't recyclable - like pizza wrappers - that gets you," Jules, an artist in Leeds, explains.

"Every single sheet for the stickers in the party bags came individually wrapped in its own unrecyclable cellophane bag

then they were packed together in a bigger bag," she says.

Her children are passionate about protecting the environment but Jules says she finds it very hard as a consumer to make the right choices.

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