Join the Big Plastic Count to help tackle the plastic crisis

Take part in The Big Plastic Count, the UK’s biggest nationwide investigation into household plastic waste. 

From 16-22 May 2022, across the nation, people will be counting their plastic waste and gathering data to encourage the government, manufacturers and retailers to take action to combat the plastic crisis. 

There are a wide range of other projects taking place locally to help tackle the plastic crisis. 

Leave No Trace on our seafront

Leave No Trace is made up of local beach lovers who are raising awareness and action to protect our beaches and green spaces. They aim to educate, encourage and empower people to reduce, reuse, recycle or properly dispose of rubbish so our beaches, green spaces and seas can be clean and tidy for everyone to enjoy. 

Over the past 12 months, Leave No Trace’s Brighton wing has collected more than 636kg of rubbish and waste left on the seafront throughout Brighton & Hove – two thirds of which is plastic waste. Find out more about Leave No Trace Brighton

Creating a circular economy

A circular economy is a key part of the solution to climate change. It aims to reduce over-consumption and waste and restore and regenerate ecosystems by moving away from a ‘throw-away society’ to one that keeps products and materials in use for as long as possible. 

We recently invited Brighton & Hove residents to the BLUEPRINT Circular Economy Roadshow. Attendees heard from speakers across policy, fashion, construction and more about how they are implementing circular practices. 

We’re always looking out for volunteers to join our Circular Economy Champion scheme. If you’d like to help Brighton & Hove residents reduce waste and recycle more, please get in touch with us today! 

Learn more about Brighton & Hove City Council’s Circular Economy Routemap and Action Plan

Discover 10 actions you can take to reduce, re-use and recycle

Drinking water refill stations and fountains

A number of free drinking water refill stations have recently been installed across the city to minimise the need to buy plastic bottles. 

The units also include drinking fountains and can be found at Hove Lawns, Hove Lagoon skate park, Churchill Square, on the plaza at the entrance to the Palace Pier, in front of Hove Town Hall, and outside Brighton Station. 

If the initiative is successful, more fountains could be installed in other parts of the city. 

Brighton & Hove environmental education (BHee)

BHee is a free service Brighton & Hove schools can access to support their sustainability journey. In addition to supporting schools with the Eco-Schools process, BHee aims to raise awareness of the range of wildlife in and around the city among both pupils and teachers. 

The service is funded by Brighton & Hove City Council and delivered by Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Surfers Against Sewage 

Surfers Against Sewage is a grassroots charity dedicated to the protection of the ocean, beaches and wildlife. Part of their work involves campaigning to eliminate plastic pollution choking our seas. Surfers Against Sewage Brighton organise beach clean events and work with schools to encourage them to be plastic free. 

Why we must tackle plastic waste

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council, said: “We’re encouraging as many Brighton & Hove residents as possible to join the Big Plastic Count. This is a simple, practical way of getting involved in continuing efforts across the city to cut plastic pollution as part of how we tackle climate change. 

“There is a substantial amount of work underway to reduce plastics and take them out of the waste system. This includes investigating the collection of additional plastics including low-grade plastics like food pots, tubs and trays. 

“The council has developed an A-Z of items that can be recycled, and recently launched a champions scheme where the public helps educate on reuse, repair and recycling. 

“Over 30 tonnes of older electrical items have been saved from going to waste through the opening of the Revaluit store on North Street. Just weeks ago, we launched 6 water fountains across the city centre. 

“The council has also supported community environment group ‘Leave No Trace’ by funding collection receptacles for fishing nets collected from the beach which is then recycled. But the work continues with partners to reduce single-use plastics. 

“Last year, we launched our Carbon Neutral 2030 programme in response to the climate and biodiversity emergency. This ambitious and necessary plan outlines our journey to a more sustainable future for Brighton & Hove.

“Tackling plastic waste is an important part of addressing the climate crisis, and this initiative will help uncover the true scale of the problem and identify next steps.”

Plastic production and burning plastic that’s been thrown away produces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. If plastic production continues at current levels, it’s estimated that these emissions will jeopardize attempts to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C. 

Plastic waste also ends up in our countryside and sea, threatening local wildlife and taking hundreds of years to break down.

How to take part

Join thousands of others by tracking the plastic packaging you throw away for one week from 16 to 22 May. After submitting your results online, you’ll receive a personal plastic footprint and report that explains what really happens to plastic when it leaves your home. 

Once all the results are in, The Big Plastic Count will share the national picture – and the next steps on pushing the government into action. 

The event has been organised by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic to discover the true scale of household plastic waste. 

Visit The Big Plastic Count’s website to sign up and receive a free pack with everything you need to get started. Community groups, schools and businesses are also invited to take part collectively. 

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