Plastic count – only 17% of plastic waste is recycled

Plastic pollution

Plastic count reveals that only 17% of plastic waste is recycled. Greenpeace has found in crunching the numbers from its recent Big Plastic Count, based on over 220,000 supporter returns, the following key results:
 UK households are using almost 1.7 billion pieces of plastic every week – that’s around 90 billion a year
 Only 17% of our plastic waste gets recycled here in the UK
 More than half – 58% – of the pieces thrown away are burnt, polluting our air and damaging our health
 The rest is sent to other countries or dumped in landfill

Watch this video to find out why more recycling isn’t the answer – and discover the solutions that would truly make a difference.
Greenpeace believes that the only way to tackle household plastic waste is to reduce the amount produced in the first place. The good news is that governments have now started negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty.  They continue: “we’ve influenced a major United Nations Treaty before. Thanks to supporters, and a range of organisations, The Global Oceans Treaty was agreed in 2023. It is the biggest conservation win in history, with the potential to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030. Together, we can make history again. It’s time for governments and big brands to take action. We can’t recycle our way out of this crisis. The world just needs to make less plastic in the first place.

Governments are working out a treaty that could make that happen – but only if they do it right.” Greenpeace is also calling on people to contact their local MP asking them to support a strong treaty that cuts plastic production. You can contact Julian Smith MP for Skipton and Ripon at: or ‘phone his office at
0207 219 7145. Find out more from Greenpeace here.

ACE is working in conjunction with Plastic Free Settle on various plastic reduction activities. We will be hearing more from Rosie Sanderson about their local campaign on Saturday 11 May at the Green Café meeting from 10.30am at St John’s Methodist Church, Church Street, Settle BD24 9JJ. More information on our events page.