An inventory study was carried out of the trace element distribution in plastic products, made of new raw materials, and products made of recycled plastic scrap. Both normal and large sample INAA have been used. The uncertainty introduced by sampling a product made of new plastic pellets was found to be 1.3% for analytical portions of 200 mg, the extreme concentrations being 5% apart. In the end product of the recycling of scrap plastic this sampling uncertainty reflects the variation of trace element levels in the semi-manufactured product, and variations up to 200–300% may occur. Even larger variations can be expected between products, produced within a batch.