Rise of Plastic

Throughout the day September 6th, 2021 I kept count of every plastic item that I touched during my normal routine. Throughout the day I came in contact with 42 items that were made of some form of synthetic plastic, although I probably touched more that I did not realize was plastic I honestly thought I would have touched a lot more than 42 items. Many times throughout the day I had to stand and contemplate whether or not an item I was holding had any form of plastic on it. 

After the initial day of collecting everything made of plastic I encountered, I began to keep every plastic item I had that was disposable. I found myself throwing anything from a straw wrapper, to a nice plastic bottle into a bag that would slowly accumulate over the course of 24 hours. Throughout that course of time I ended up using a total of 24 disposable plastic items, and initially I thought that was not a lot, but once I laid them all out to get a picture that is when it struck me. We go through plastic like it is nothing, and the fact that 24 items took up nearly half of my carpet is outstanding, we just think of it as nothing more than a passing breeze. 

Taking both days into consideration it would seem like I use a lot of plastic based items. Now I don’t believe this one day is a good representation of my lifestyle as a human being, as both days I recorded my data on I was particularly busy, so I was naturally going through a bit more resources than I normally would. Reflecting back onto these two days though, it really strikes me how much plastic that is in our lives that we don’t even realize, and as well how little of it can be disposed of sustainably.

Comparing both days of collecting, if we assume that I would have gathered around the same amount of disposable plastics on that day, then during that first initial day I would have encountered approximately 18 non-disposable plastic items. Some of these non-disposables can still be recycled, but they require more specialized facilities to process them, and sadly I do not have easy access to said facilities in order to put them back to good use. 

At the end of the day however it is important to remember what Beth Terry once said, “Guilt is not encouraged”, and from this quote we don’t need to feel bad for using plastic items in our lives. Most of us are fortunate enough to live in a country where plastic luxuries are common, and we just have naturally begun to blend these items into our normal lives; to where we think nothing of them. You can make a change in your life to try to use less plastic, but don’t feel guilty over using some, with the world that we are living in currently it is rather hard to avoid the use of plastic. Just remember to try and take a few extra steps and maybe buy that biodegradable cups, or learn to wash your own utensils in order to not need plastic utensils; any change matters no matter how small.

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