My plastic consumption is something I am not very proud of. Before this class, I would only pay attention to things like where I bought my clothes, bringing reusable cups to places like Starbucks or the dining hall, and trying to avoid using straws. This was the extent of me being a “conscious consumer”. Ever since I began this class and started reading Beth Terry’s book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, I have changed my perception of what it truly means to be conscious of my consumption. Before taking this class, every time I would bring a reusable cup to Starbucks or avoid buying from places like H&M or Forever 21 I would give myself a pat on the back however, when I have purchased my bedding, room decor, or have gotten my acrylic nails done I would feel unphased about my plastic consumption. I have since learned that although I try to avoid single-use plastics when I am shopping, multi-use plastics are truly my downfall.
Over the past few days, I have been pretty sick which has limited me to staying in my dorm and leaving for the occasional City Bistro trip. Thus, I haven’t had the same interaction with plastic items that I normally would’ve on a healthier day. Brainstorming this post in my bed has led me to think a lot about the things around me. Looking up, I see fairy lights and tapestry which both contain plastic components. On my bedside table, there’s a lamp, diffuser, water bottle, AirPods, essential oil bottles, remote control, pill bottle, stuffed animal, and masks which all contain plastic. As I inspected my room for all of the plastic I started realizing that the majority of my room contains plastic. My “conscious consumption” that I had previously mentioned hardly even matters when comparing that to the plastic I have in my dorm. Although most of these plastic items in my room won’t be disposed of any time soon, they eventually will end up in a landfill after my college graduation or sooner. Unfortunately, after analyzing my room, this is in fact a very accurate representation of my lifestyle and plastic footprint. I have become conditioned to the consumer lifestyle where I care more about the aesthetic of my living space and less about where the things in my living space are coming from. In the photo below I have numbered out all of the items containing plastic in a corner of my dorm room.
As someone who claims to care a lot about the environment, I personally don’t do the best job following through with it. Like I mentioned before, I try to stay away from single-use plastics if I can, shop for my clothes second-hand, and avoid using plastic straws, but is that really enough? I try my best to educate myself and others around me on the little, yet still important, things we can do to help reduce our waste. Like Beth Terry has mentioned in her book “Guilt is not encouraged”. Because of this quote, I would like to remind the reader and myself that there is always room for improvement and even if we can’t personally see the difference we are making right now, it does have a larger impact than we know.