Plastic is everywhere, it surrounds us 24/7. We eat it, we touch it, we even smell it and while we may not know it, we are probably never going to be able to get rid of it. I never really thought about how much plastic I used every day until I was told to keep a list. Not going to lie I was kind of scared because I knew that I used a lot. My list consisted of thirty-eight items. I was blown away by how long the list was, but when I went to class and heard my classmates sharing theirs, I realized I forgot to put various items. From things like a light switch to the hat I was wearing that day. My list probably could have gone up to around 70 or 80.
Over the span of the past week, I have been very sick and because of this I have been using more plastic than ever. I have been getting food delivered to me for every meal and drinking a lot of plastic water bottles. As I’m sitting here writing this, I think about ways I can limit my plastic use, and while there are things that I can do to help, it is very hard to live a so called “plastic free life”. I look around, while I sit in my dorm room and almost everything I see is made from plastic. I know these items aren’t single use plastics and I can use them for years, but at some point they are still going to end up in the trash.
In the bag of trash that I collected throughout my day it added up to 10 items, well 11 if u include the bag, I used to carry these items how ironic. It was a plate, 4 cups/bottles, food containers, etc. I think this is representative of my lifestyle. Especially being in college and having the bad habit of eating out every day I do use lots of plastic. If I were to use around 9 disposable plastic items every day that would add up to around 3,000 items per year. That’s a lot. From this I have learned that I need to be more conscious of what I buy. Now most of the plastic problem comes from the food industry, which is understandable because how else are you supposed to package food? This school is supposed to be a sustainable school but as far as I have seen it really isn’t. In my dorm room there is no way to recycle anything. Everyone just dumps their trash downstairs. Now if I really wanted to, I could probably drive somewhere to get it recycled. Even when I go to the dining hall there are separate bins, but it all ends up in the same place.
Beth Terry stated in her book “Guilt is not encouraged” this is something everyone should go by. If you are guilty about the plastic, you are using you will never be able to overcome it and fix what you are doing. Overall, I think that this was a good learning experience. I thought that I knew how much plastic I was using but it turns out I really didn’t. I feel that now I have way more knowledge than I did 3 weeks ago, and I feel as though I can limit my plastic use.