A new survey has discovered that plastic waste in British households significantly increased during lockdown.
In March 2020 the UK, and many other countries, were forced into lockdown to help stem the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. This meant that many businesses had to change their practices and find ways for their employees to work from home.
Many of us have also changed our habits over the last 12 months. We spend more time at home, most of our shopping is done online and many of us have taken the opportunity to start new projects, get the garden sorted out or to do some home renovations.
Unfortunately, all of this has led to an increase in plastic waste.
The Everyday Plastic Survey
A survey, conducted by the Everyday Plastic Survey, shows thatUK households got through an average of 128 bits of plastic waste in a week; almost 30 more pieces than in pre-lockdown times.
The survey, which took place over three months and included data from 483 people, found that most of the plastic waste, 68 percent, came from food and drink products.
Almost two thirds of the overall plastic waste was soft plastic that is rarely recycled in the UK; just 37 percent of the plastic waste items recorded in the survey were recyclable.
The amount of plastic in each household included in the survey did vary quite a lot, with the highest amount of plastic in one household used and collected in one week being 734 pieces and the lowest amount being just 17 pieces.
Based on scaling up of these figures, and the average amount of 128 pieces, it would mean that 3.6 billion pieces are being disposed of in the UK every week!
Why Has Plastic Consumption Increased?
It is believed that the increase in deliveries during lockdown has massively contributed to the increase in plastic waste, with more parcel packaging entering the household, along with items such as fruit and veg packaging, snack wrappers and PPE items.
The Everyday Plastic survey was designed to fast-track our awareness and understanding, which, the creators hope, in turn leads to more responsible consumer choices. They also believe that this encourages – or ultimately obliges – businesses and governments to improve their practice and policy.
Making a Difference
We hope that highlighting the amount of household plastic waste that is produced each week will make consumers think twice and make a conscious effort to reduce, reuse and recycle.