Christians get counting to reduce plastic waste

Christians across the UK are being encouraged to do their bit in the war against plastic waste by taking part in a nationwide count.

The Big Plastic Count will see thousands of people across the country count up all the pieces of plastic they throw away between 11 and 17 March.

The campaign is a partnership between Christian development agency Tearfund and charities EveryDay Plastic and Greenpeace UK.

They want to gather evidence about plastic waste before major UN talks taking place in Ottawa, Canada, from 23 to 29 April.

Tearfund has called the talks a "once-in-a-generation chance to change our relationship with plastic".

Over 40,000 people, including thousands of school children, have already signed up to take part in the Big Plastic Count and Tearfund is asking Christians to get involved too.

The charity's senior economist Rich Gower said, "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."

The last Big Plastic Count uncovered that just 12 per cent of the UK's plastic packaging is recycled, despite households throwing away nearly two billion pieces each week. The rest is burned, shipped abroad or sent to landfill.

Most of the plastic waste recorded during the Big Count (83%) was from food and drink packaging, the most common being for fruit and vegetables.

"Plastic is all around us, impossible to avoid," said Gower.

"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."