59 This is the number of plastic objects I touched in one day. It would be even more if I had counted the items, I touched more than once. Furthermore, I probably also touched a plenty of objects that I was not even aware that they were made of plastic. In Today’s world we literally sink in in plastic so that we do not even notice any more if we touch a plastic object. So, it was with me, before this self-experiment I was not even aware that so much in my life consists of plastic. But after the first hour of my self-experiment, I was shocked because I had already touched about 25 plastic items in the first hour of my day and I also realized that almost everything in my bathroom is made of plastic. At the end of the day, I realized what a huge amount of plastic I had touched in one day.
I have divided my plastic items in different categories so I can better evaluate my result:
1. Electronic devices=7 items examples= mobile, laptop charger
2. Bathroom products=20 items examples= shampoo, toothbrush
3. Food=8 items examples= yogurt cup, muesli package
4. Study Supplies=10 items examples= pens, block
5. Sport= 5 items examples= Ball bucket, gym bag
6. Other things= 9 items examples= Laundry bag, cleaning rag packing
After evaluating my list of plastic items, I noticed two categories in particular where I could reduce my plastic consumption the easiest and that is Bathroom products and Food. Because especially in these categories, I used a lot of disposable plastic items, which is why I collected all single-use plastic items on another day. After the experiment, I came to the conclusion that almost all the items were in the categories (as already suspected) Bathroom and Food. And I would also say the disposable plastic items I collected that day reflected my disposable plastic use well
And after thinking about it, I also came up with ideas on how to reduce my single-use plastic consumption. However, I also realized how difficult it is to implement some of them in the US.
One example from the Bathroom category is to use solid shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste which is packaged completely plastic free or even a bamboo toothbrush and hairbrush are good alternatives which are usually only a few dollars more expensive than the plastic ones. Another example, which unfortunately can hardly be implemented in the USA is to shop in plastic-free sections of supermarkets, especially for food, or in completely plastic-free supermarkets, which have been around for a few years in Germany. However, after research I noticed that there are hardly any such supermarkets in the USA.
Despite some ideas, it is difficult from my point of view as a student to greatly reduce his plastic use. For example, in the dining halls there is a lot of plastic used, where it is relatively difficult for me as a student to avoid the plastic there. Another problem is that the plastic products are usually easier to get and cheaper than plastic-free products. Another point which I consider problematic is the possibility of recycling, because I find there are hardly any opportunities to use recycling facilities and if you want to find some you usually have to spend a lot of time on the subject, although there are isolated recycling garbage cans on campus, but I have the feeling that it is not taken so seriously.
But even after the self-experiments with the shocking results for me and the many problems that I became aware of I do not feel guilty and think that you should not feel guilty too. To deal with the topic in depth is already a start and it has motivated me to reduce my plastic footprint and to go more consciously through life.