A plastic planet

As a college student, I find that plastic is one of my most used items of the day. From my toothbrush to the packaging of my textbook, I am surrounded by plastic. Listing every item of plastic I touched in a day turned out to be more than a process than I thought. I found myself listing something almost every time I moved. It’s easy as a college student to curate an extensive amount of plastic because it’s just too easy. Trips to the dining hall will add just five more items to the list. Thinks that I didn’t normally think about, my morning routine added about 8 items. I get it, it’s convenient but is it really all necessary?

I think my one day of noting my plastic use doesn’t accurately portray my whole plastic footprint. I think the transition to college completely changed my plastic use. While at home – of course, I had the same morning and night routine, using plastic shampoo bottles and make-up. I was lucky enough to be able to be using silver silverware, while at college, the plastic silverware I use at least 3 times a day normally gets thrown out because I’m too lazy to clean and reuse it.  I never could have imagined touching 35 items of plastic in a day, many of which I touched multiple times a day. I was filled with guilt each time I wrote down a new plastic item on my list however I thought back to what Beth Terry thought about guilt. That if I am guilty then it means I genuinely feel bad for my plastic consumption, which I do.

assorted clothes hanging on rack

I think that making a change in my plastic footprint honestly would not be impossible. Finding reusable silverware and using that in the dining hall, as well as my own water bottle would take off a lot of items on my list. Even starting by not buying plastic water bottles because I found an overwhelming amount of plastic bottles in my dorm room between me and my 3 other roommates. This is change that would not only make me feel better but will make our planet feel better.

4 thoughts on “A plastic planet

  1. I feel the same way since I’ve been in college my plastic consumption has changed a lot. I use a lot more plastic since then, especially in terms of disposable plastic products. I also mostly use plastic cutlery and drinking cups when I eat in the dining hall because you don’t usually have an alternative. And if I want to take food with me, it is usually packed in small plastic cups. After the experiment, I resolved to take more care to rinse the plastic cutlery and then use it again, but currently it happens to me far too often that I simply forget and throw it away without thinking about it.

  2. I liked the attention you brought to the college life and how that has greatly affected your plastic consumption. The point of stating that your routine stayed the same but your silverware went to all plastic utensils is the main factor for why this was a good point to bring up. Because not just you, but almost all other students do not reuse their utensils, and all of that adds up. I also like how you already started to brain storm ideas to reduce this consumption. Overall, great blog post!

  3. I think it would be interesting to explore in more depth how laziness and convenience could increase or possibly decrease our plastic consumption. I used plastic water bottles instead of tap water at my home. However, at college I have no convenient way of getting plastic water bottles. This is less wasteful, but the decision was not made with sustainability in mind, rather it was based off laziness and convenience.

  4. I feel exactly the same way. I have never realized how much plastic I genuinely touch. Especially the items I have that I never knew were plastic. When keeping track of my plastic footprint, I also thought how my plastic footprint might not actually be accurate and maybe I should try and take it a step further. I like how there are also many things you are willing to change for how much plastic you touch. I think it is very important for anyone to take a step into helping the environment and everything in it. You did an amazing job and it was very interesting to read.

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