Greenpeace has accused supermarkets of “trimming around the edges” in tackling single-use plastic, as the planet faces an environmental disaster.

Today a report from the campaign group found UK households were throwing away on average 60 pieces of plastic packaging per household a week – adding up to an estimated 1.7 billion pieces of plastic nationally each week.

The figures – equating to 90 billion pieces of plastic packaging being thrown away annually – are consistent with the first count carried out by the body in 2022. It said they showed just how little progress had been made by supermarkets and big brands in reducing plastic packaging.

Last week, a report by IGD warned that the war on plastic would be lost unless the industry took “rapid” and “high-impact” action to switch to mass use of refill and reuse technology.

It said supermarkets and suppliers had relegated such schemes to the sidelines because they were not profitable in the short term. Without a seismic shift away from single-use plastic, industry targets on plastic production would not be hit, it added.

“This year the Big Plastic Count provides yet more evidence that the UK’s plastic problem is out of control,” said Laura Burley, project lead for The Big Plastic Count at Greenpeace UK.

“Supermarkets are still trimming around the edges when it comes to drastically reducing packaging, and their focus is on yet more recycling when it should be on refills.

“We all now know that reuse and refill can solve our challenge of too much disposable waste. But it will take bold action from supermarkets, brands and the government to make this a reality. We need a nationwide rollout, at scale, of the infrastructure that will support this transition, and an unwavering commitment from industry and policymakers.

“Reuse and refill should already be part of our everyday lives and it should certainly be accessible to everyone in the short term.”

Greenpeace is calling on the UK government and supermarkets to advocate for a legally binding target in the global Global Plastics Treaty negotiations, and reduce plastic production by at least 75% by 2040.

It that more than 80% of the plastic counted consisted of food and drink packaging, most likely to have come from supermarkets.

The UK Plastics Pact, launched six years ago, pledged to make packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, but Greenpeace said the industry was “miles off” the progress needed.

Supermarkets must match the ambition of the UK public, who were overwhelmingly in favour of reuse, refill and reduction schemes, it added.

Running from 11 to 17 March this year, the Big Plastic Count saw nearly 225,000 people, from over 77,000 households, and numerous members from community groups and businesses across the UK, take part.

It included 28,000 pupils from over 5,000 school classes, which it said demonstrated the desire for change among young people.