Residents urged to take part in Big Plastic Count

The Big Plastic Count takes place between Monday May 16 and Sunday May 22 and everyone is encouraged to take part.

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Arran residents, community groups and schools are being encouraged to take part in the Big Plastic Count initiative next month.

The Big Plastic Count involves registering online at, receiving a counting pack, and then counting all the plastic thrown away between Monday May 16 and Sunday May 22.

The results of all of the responses will then be collated to provide a national picture and this will be used to prompt action on eliminating single use plastic.

Environmental campaigner Hilary Patrick of Machrie said: ‘Plastic waste is all around us: on our beaches, littering the streets and roadsides and in overflowing recycling bins and many people are trying to cut down their use of throwaway plastic.

‘The innovative Arran Think About Plastic group works with businesses and community groups on the island wanting to do their bit and several hotels have now got ‘plastic free status’, including Auchrannie, The Douglas and Lamlash Bay hotels, as well as Carraig Mhor guesthouse in Lamlash and Alice’s Wonderland Bed and Breakfast. Eco Savvy’s Zero Waste cafes also encourage us to cut down our plastic use.

‘In summer 2023 the Scottish government’s deposit return scheme for single use bottles will go live and we will start seeing the installation of reverse vending machines, where people can return single use bottles and get their deposit back. The aim is to get 90 per cent of all bottles returned by 2024.

‘But we need more action by the UK government and by manufacturers and supermarkets. The UK is the second largest user of plastic packaging in the world, beaten only by the US.

‘Right now, nobody’s counting how much plastic we’re really having to throw away, and we think it’s more than anyone realises. Please sign up for the Big Plastic Count and let’s get counting!’

Patricia Gibson MP has registered to take part in the event.

She said: ‘I am keen to see the results of the Big Plastic Count when all the information gathered from across the UK is collated.

‘I expect it will make for grim reading but I also hope it will be an impetus for us all to be more circumspect about the plastic we use.’

The Big Plastic Count has created a teachers’ pack and free classroom resources for schools.

Community groups and work colleagues are also encouraged to take part and even if participants cannot do the count on the specified week, another week will do, as long as all results are in by last day of May.