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  • The Big Plastic Count represents a major opportunity for the UK public to influence the UN Global Plastics Treaty, which is a once-in-a-generation chance to change our relationship with plastic
  • The count will gather evidence about the scale of UK plastic waste to help the UK government lead the way in negotiating an ambitious treaty
  • Tearfund is calling on Christians to play their part in raising awareness of how much plastic we throw away in the UK Over 30,000 participants, including 3,700 school classes, have so far signed up to count their plastic waste 11-17 March 2024

Christians across the UK are being urged to help in caring for the environment by taking part in the Big Plastic Count in March this year to raise awareness of how much plastic is thrown away each week.

Tearfund, a Christian aid and development agency, is partnering with Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK, to gather evidence of the scale of the problem and influence the fourth stage of the UN Global Plastics Treaty talks in Ottawa, Canada from April 23 to 29 2024.

“Every thirty seconds someone dies from disease linked to plastic pollution and rubbish. For people living in poverty, there is no time to waste.

"The Big Plastic Count is a great opportunity for thousands of us in the UK to come together and show we want this plastics crisis solved.

“It's a powerful reminder to the Government that people across the UK and worldwide are getting on with tackling plastic pollution. We need global politicians to agree on a strong Global Plastics Treaty this year,” Rich Gower, senior economist at Tearfund, said.

Almost a quarter of a million people participated in the last Big Plastic Count in 2022, revealing:

  • UK households throw nearly two billion pieces of plastic packaging away weekly.
  • Just 12% is recycled in the UK, with the rest being burned, shipped abroad, or languishing in landfills.
  • 83% of plastic recorded was from food and drink packaging waste, the most common item being fruit and vegetable packaging.

Thousands of people across schools, households, churches, community groups and businesses will be coming together to count their plastic waste.

“Plastic is all around us, impossible to avoid. That’s why we need to count together - to show world leaders and big businesses that we care and want alternatives to be much easier to find. Your evidence will help create the much-needed pressure calling for ambitious action at the global treaty talks, and help make a future that’s free of plastic waste.

“We know plastic pollution is having a huge impact on our neighbours around the world, so taking action can be part of loving our neighbours. But also of loving God - who asks us to take care of his beautiful creation,” Mr Gower added.

Two billion people – one in four of us – have no safe way to dispose of rubbish, meaning many are forced to live and work among piles of waste. This is making people sick, releasing toxic fumes, flooding communities and causing up to a million deaths each year – that’s one person dying every 30 seconds.

Tearfund is campaigning for the global plastics treaty to include:

  • strong targets on reducing plastic production
  • recognising and supporting waste pickers who collect almost 60 per cent of all the plastic that’s collected for recycling globally each year
  • committing to scale up waste management and recycling for the 2 billion people that don’t have access to it.

For more information log onto


For further information or interview requests call Mel Barnston on 07929 335 146 or for out of hours media enquiries please call 07929 339813.

Notes to editors:

Tearfund is a Christian aid and development agency, that partners with churches in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries. We tackle poverty through sustainable development, responding to disasters and challenging injustice. We believe an end to extreme poverty is possible. Tearfund is also a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit

Everyday Plastic

Founded in 2018 by Daniel Webb, Everyday Plastic is an evidence-led non-profit organisation delivering accessible learning and campaigns that tackle the effects of the plastic problem that are felt across our society. Having co-founded The Big Plastic Count – the UK’s largest-ever investigation into household plastic waste – with partners Greenpeace, Everyday Plastic’s unique methodology for calculating people’s plastic footprint continues to inspire change at every level of society.

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