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© Angela Christofilou / Greenpeace
Plastic waste pic.jpg
© Angela Christofilou / Greenpeace
World News

Christians called to campaign against 'Wembley Arena' sized plastic waste

by Donna Birrell

Christians have been urged to put pressure on supermarkets to cut plastic waste.

It comes as the results of a Greenpeace Big Plastic Count in March found that UK households are throwing away on average 60 pieces of plastic packaging per household every week. That equates to 1.7 billon pieces of plastic which would take one person 53 years and 7 months to count at one second per piece.

Snack packaging (699,932 pieces) and fruit and veg packaging (697,085 pieces) accounted for the most waste.

Andy Lester, head of Conservation at the Christian charity A Rocha UK, told Premier: “I think we hoped that the figures would be better than they are, but they are good at revealing how far we have to go.

“Ninety billion pieces equates to the whole of Wembley Arena, full to the brim in plastic waste every year. That gives you an idea of the scale of the problem that we're facing. For many people there are two particular problems. The first is the news that leaks out regularly that councils that recycle plastic aren't actually recycling it at all, they’re whacking it into an incinerator. The second problem is that often we've got a little packet little packet of biscuits and we think it's too small to throw in the recycling so we whack it into the bin. So that's a bit of laziness on our part.”

Almost a quarter of a million people from 77,000 households took place in the week long survey last month. It also found that over half (58 per cent) of the pieces of plastic packaging thrown away are being incinerated – up 12 per cent from 46 per cent in 2022.

Seventeen per cent was recycled in the UK, followed by waste exports (14 per cent) and landfill (11 per cent).

Lester has urged the church community to speak to supermarket managers and ask them to stop using plastic packaging.

“They may have a biodegradable alternative available, it may cost a little bit more, but ultimately, it doesn't cost the earth more. So there are ways of doing it. But pressure on our supermarkets really does make a difference,” he said.

He said he hopes churches consider becoming eco-churches.

 “We're seeking a nation of revivalists, we're seeking real change at a deep level Holy Spirit lead change. If we want the Holy Spirit lead change, the starting point is always to get down on our knees and say ‘Lord, what are you calling me to do to make a difference?”

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