Bring it, Barnet

Bring it, Barnet!

Join the reusable revolution to fight our single–use plastic problem.

Why? Well…

Single-use plastic: What’s the problem?

The rise in popularity and convenience of single-use plastics has led to a plastic waste and pollution problem. UK households throw out around 100 billion pieces of plastic packaging annually, most of which is single-use. Just 12% of this plastic waste gets recycled, and the rest ends up in the rubbish, wasting the vast quantity of materials and resources used for their production.

Plastic also remains in the environment, entering our rivers and oceans, harming  wildlife and threatening biodiversity. Plastic pollution breaks down into small fragments called microplastics. These microplastics contaminate the seas and soil, and eventually are consumed by animals on land and sea. Microplastics could then be consumed by us in contaminated food.

bring it barnet inforgraphic

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UK households throw away an estimated 1.85 billion pieces of plastic packaging a week, or 96.57 billion pieces a year.

North London households throw out over 46 million pieces of plastics each week. That's around 9055 tons or over 717 UK football pitches! That's enough to fill Old Courthouse Rec Ground 202 times over!

Opting for reusable containers – items you can use again and again for your food and drink – is the best choice for the environment. Yes, better than recycling! Avoiding single-use plastic reduces resource consumption, pollution, and wildlife threats, whilst offering cost savings and conserving the energy normally needed to recycle plastic.

So we are inviting residents of Barnet to ditch single-use plastics and bring it, to help reduce plastic waste.

After Barnet, we will be inviting residents from across north London to bring it.

  • The impact of single-use plastic infographic
  • Plastic bottles infographic
  • Plastic food containers infographic
  • Hot drinks cups infographic
  • Plastic shopping bags infographic

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Infographic 1 – The impact of single use plastic 

Plastic production contributes to 3.3% of all global carbon emissions. Switching to reusable alternatives could reduce your carbon footprint by 457kg per year. That’s 127 car rides across Barnet…or over 2.3 years of charging your phone in your local Barnet café! 

The average UK carbon footprint per person is 12,995 kg per year. 

Switching to reusable options could reduce your daily carbon footprint by 3.5%. A family of four could save £4,881 per year if they switch to reusables. 

Infographic 2 – Plastic bottles 

The average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles a year but only recycles 270 of them. 

Nationally 35 million bottles are used every day, 16 million of those aren’t being recycled. 

Each bottle has a carbon footprint of 100g of carbon! 

Alternative: Reusable bottles 

By bringing your reusable bottle, you can take up to 480 plastic bottles out of circulation per year. And reduce your carbon footprint by 36.5kg per year. 

Infographic 3 – Plastic food containers 

Only 12% of total plastic waste ends up being recycled in the UK. The rest ends up being incinerated in landfill or in the environment. 

Alternative: Reusable food boxes. 

Swtiching to reusables means you can vastly reduce the amount of plastic being disposed of. 

Infographic 4 – Hot drinks cups 

2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used per year in the UK, but only 1 in 400 are recycled. Producing these cups take almost 1.5 billion litres of water and 152,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. 

Paper and cardboard cups seem more climate-friendly, but most cannot be recycled as they contain a plastic lining. 

Producing a single use cup produces 61g of carbon. 

Alternative: Reusable coffee cups 

…save 9.5kg of carbon per year. 

Infographic 5 – Plastic shopping bags 

Even when properly sorted, it’s tricky for plastic shopping bags to be recycled. 

Producing one bag creates 1.58kg of carbon. 

Alternative: Reusable bags 

Reusable shopping bags help to reduce the amount of plastic in circulation, thereby saving our planet from harmful microplastics and non-biodegradable waste. 

You could lower your carbon footprint by 411kg per year by switching to reusables alternatives. 


  1. Bring your reusable water bottle with you full from home, and fill it on the go in cafés, restaurants, pubs or bars.
  2. Bring your reusable bags with you when you go shopping – and don’t leave them somewhere on the way!
  3. Bring your reusable food containers with you to shops, cafés and takeaways. It may feel strange, but they are usually happy to pack food in your reusable container, rather than a disposable one. This could be for your workday lunch, your takeaway feast or your extra large spoonful of loose olives at the deli.
  4. Bring your reusable coffee cup with you to shops, cafés, restaurants and on your way to work for your daily cuppa.

To significantly reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastic, we need the whole community to get involved. Why not tell people about your commitment to bringing your reusable containers by sharing this pledge on social media?

Download our pledge


Share the Bring It, Barnet pledge on X


Our research showed that over 77% of Barnet residents said they want to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use when buying food and drink products.

A similar number are concerned about the environmental impact of single-use food and drink packaging.

Barnet reuses and recycling stats

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Over 85% of Barnet residents already use reusable bags.

83% already use reusable water bottles.

77% said they want to reduce the amount of single-use plastic they use when buying food and drink products.

Almost 80% said that they understood that a lot of single-use plastics could be replaced with reusable alternatives.

Source: NLWA research (2023)

So many people living and working in Barnet are already bringing it. So let's celebrate the stories of some of our local reusable heroes, who already use reusable containers in their everyday lives and businesses.


Nervous about asking businesses if you can use your reusable containers? Let’s overcome the refill fear. You can just ask!

Many more shops, cafés and restaurants are happy to fill and refill your reusable food and drink containers than you might think. For example, many cafés and restaurants will happily use your reusable box to package up your lunch or will make your coffee in your reusable cup. Look out for a window sticker showing that this business welcomes refills  – but if there isn’t a sticker, all you have to do is ask!


Local businesses in Barnet are key to reducing the use of single-use plastics, by reducing the amount they use in their shops, cafés and restaurants, and by welcoming customers bringing their reusable containers.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Encourage your customers to bring their own reusables to your business by placing stickers or posters in your window (see below).
  • Make sure customers know that your business encourages them to bring their reusable containers.
  • Talk about it on social media. The more local residents know that you will happily fill and refill their reusable food and drink containers, the better!
  • Download images that you can share on your social channels to encourage your customers to bring reusables: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

To request a promotional pack full of window stickers and posters, please fill in this form. Enter your details and we’ll send you everything you need to become a local reusable champion!

Request material pack for your business


Details of our data sources are available at this link.

Published date
5 January 2024