Earth Month: Big Plastic Count at Talking Tables

Posted by Lucy Todd on

Earth Month: Big Plastic Count

Mountain of plastic bottles

On Earth Day itself, we were super pleased to share the news that we'd hit our target of planting 40,000 trees!

Read: Earth Day: 40,000 Trees!

But recently, we've also been taking action on our plastic waste.

For a week in March, all of us at Talking Tables HQ took part in The Big Plastic Count - a citizen science initiative run by Greenpeace to track how much plastic we throw away in the UK during an the average week.

Across the week we had to log all the items we discarded and categorise each one according to what kind of plastic it was and what kind of product category it belonged to - eg. food and beverage, household items etc... 

Following our efforts we have now been sent our results and some context of what the national picture looks like. 

We thought we’d share our results with you - and a few ideas of actions we can take as individuals to fight against plastic pollution.


In good news, one in every 300 people across the UK took part in Greenpeace's Big Plastic Count. This means not only were we in great company, but that the data collected is pretty robust. It also shows how many people across the country really care about this as an issue.

In bad news, the problem with plastic hasn’t got much better since the last Big Plastic Count in 2022 - even though we know how urgent the problem is.

It’s thought, as consumers, we discard 1.7 billion pieces of plastic per week – putting the UK second only to the US in terms of the amount of plastic waste produced. 

Nationally, recycling rates have increased from 12% to 17% which is positive, but the amount of plastic incinerated has also increased – from 46% to 58%.

While some waste solution companies do use incineration to produce energy,  incinerating plastic can release more carbon dioxide per tonne than burning coal – so this is clearly not the way to go.


In terms of our own stats we logged the following across the week…

Big Plastic count - Talking Tables plastic used

And you can see what the make-up of our plastic waste was below. We were monitoring what staff used over the course of a week in our offices and the majority of our plastic waste was food and drink related. 

Big Plastic Count - breakdown of plastic used

Because we employ the services of waste solutions provider, First Mile, our hard plastics are sent for recycling, where they are processed into pellets and used to create recycled plastics.

However, more than half of our plastic waste was soft plastics like wrappers, film and plastic bags – which currently does not get recycled.

Whilst recycling is part of the solution, we cannot view recycling as the answer to the plastic problem. With so much plastic being produced globally, it is impossible to recycle our way out of the problem. 


The point of The Big Plastic Count is to put the onus on governments, big brands and supermarkets to look at how much plastic they are using and make commitments to drastically reduce plastic production.

As a business, we are making efforts to reduce plastic in our products – with no single-use plastic in 98% of our new collections.

But it's important to remember there is still plenty of work to do. We can each play our part personally by being mindful of the products and packaging we buy containing plastic.

Greenpeace, among other stakeholders, has started negotiations with the UN for a Global Plastics Treaty to reduce the amount of plastic produced by 75% by 2040.

Big Plastic Count Global Plastics Treaty


You can help right now by writing to your MP directly to urge them to back a strong Global Plastics Treaty. To help you to do this, Greenpeace has created this handy tool.

All you need to do is fill in your postcode, and it will locate your MP. You can use their pre-written template text, or you can customise the message to make it more personal. Next, just enter your details and hit send.



It really is as easy as that! It's vital to remember that each of us has a voice - and it's important we use it.

Other stories to explore

Earth Day: 40,000 Trees!

Earth Day: 40,000 Trees!

We’ve planted 40,000 trees!  As a sustainability-minded business and B-Corp we take our responsibilities towards people and the planet very seriously. That’s why this Earth Day, we’re incredibly p...
Read more
Easter tablescape, how to lay an Easter table

How to lay an Easter table

Setting and decorating an Easter table for brunch, lunch or dinner? Follow these easy steps and you’ll be ready for guests in no time.
Read more
B Corp Month: Going Beyond at Talking Tables

B Corp Month: Going Beyond at Talking Tables

Happy B Corp month! Here at Talking Tables we’re kicking off the month’s celebrations by launching a pledge to help put an end to social isolation. And discover our work with charity partner, Go Be...
Read more
Back to the top