The journey nd life of a Medicine Bottle

As we are all well aware we have a lot of plastic items in our life that we deem as important to us and upon reflection and after watching the journey of a plastic bag in class I have found one of my most important plastic items I use daily is my medicine bottles I looked at all the ones I have and I saw a wide range of different types of plastic. Before I looked I believed that they would all be the same numbers for recycling and thinking this I when recycling I would put them all in the same bin but seeing this today It has taught me something new. When researching bottles similar to the ones I have I found a site where there are all types of plastic medicine bottles and it tells how they are made and after reviewing the different types of plastics I believe the plastic that is used for making medicine bottles is Polyethylene terephthalate or PET it is a hard plastic that is recyclable. This type of plastic is made in factories and is only touched by machines and only uses good raw materials to form their bottles. They then pack their bottles into sterile bags and box them and send them off for shipping. They mark on their website how long it should take them to make the order and it usually ranges from30-45 day unless there are specific time the costumer needs them.


“pills” by plasticrevolver is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The usage depends on what is put into the container and how many. It also depends on how often you use what is in the container. For me a medicine container would last 60 days and I use the container everyday. Now that I am in college I will be recycling differently I will use the recycling bin down stairs that are for specific small plastic containers and hope it will be disposed of properly. At the end of its functional cycle it will depend on the person using it I already said what I would do but for others that depends entirely in them. Some may chose to throw it in with the trash others may chose to find a recycling center that the number of plastic and throw it away there so it can be reused. The environmental impact of this product during the stages of development is putting out toxic chemicals in the air when using the machines to make the plastic after its use if not disposed of properly it can damage the environment through animals eating it to it being in places it shouldn’t be and not going away.

21/365 - western medicine

“21/365 – western medicine” by jypsygen is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The social impact it has is the people who get the raw materials and their working conditions, the people who work in the factories to make sure the machines are working right and them being exposed to harmful chemicals, the people who stock them in stores and are payed not enough for the work they do, and they people who will be impacted by this product if it is not disposed of properly. This would be called the economic snapshot. Way that we can reduce this is by voting with our wallets , selecting our majors that support our ideas. My assumption based on todays world is that the youth will start the change and will enforce sustainable products throughout generations. I can always be wrong and the people who believe our world is fine how it is could take control and further damage our world causing a number of catastrophic events to occur.\


Group, Foerhao. “HDPE Pharma Bottle.” Foerhao Pharmaceutical Packaging Co., Ltd., 2011,

“What Materials Make up Plastic Bottles.” MJS Packaging Blog, 30 Sept. 2014,

Life Cycle of a Plastic Water Bottle


Plastic surrounds us everywhere. Almost all of the products we use everyday are made from a form of plastic. As a consumer, the biggest contributor to my plastic footprint is plastic water bottles. I own a hydro flask that I fill up everyday before class, however there are days where I’m running late and will grab a plastic water bottle from the fridge. Plastic water bottles are convenient when I’m crunched for time and need to grab something on the go. Typically plastic water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate also known as PET. PET is produced from petroleum hydrocarbons. Polyethylene terephthalate is polymerized to create molecular chains. This allows it to produce PET bottles later on. The water bottles are made by melting plastic pellets, and injecting the melted plastic into multiple-cavity molds. They are then shipped to bottling facilities.

The life cycle of a water bottle starts when it is manufactured. After, they are distributed to stores where they are sold. On average a single plastic water bottle lasts me around a few hours. Once it’s empty I try to recycle it, but if that’s not an option I throw it in the trash. If the bottle is recycled it gets shredded down into flakes, and then melted down into pellets. The pellets are then sold to companies that can melt them and turn them into different products. If the bottle doesn’t end up getting recycled it could end up in a few places. The three most common things to happen to the bottles are, they end up in a landfill, the ocean, or they get incinerated. When the bottles end up in a landfill or the ocean, the PET can take up to ten years to break down. When the plastic is in the landfills over time the toxic chemicals leach into the ground, which ultimately could end up in the water we drink. When in the ocean, the plastic affects marine ecosystems and could harm the sea life. Animals mistake the plastic as food and eat it. This is not only harmful for them, but for us too. In addition, when the plastic is incinerated it releases harmful toxins back into the atmosphere.

We are in control of our consumption of plastic. To help prevent the plastic from ending up in landfills or the ocean, it’s important to recycle or refrain from purchasing plastic bottles. There are alternative reusable water bottles that can be used to replace plastic ones.


Easy Alternatives

Before the creation of plastic, what did everyone use? Sustainable materials were the everyday normal, such as clay, glass, tree gum were used. Why can’t we go back to that way of life? Living plastic free in today’s society is almost impossible. People oftentimes see living sustainably as expensive, but there are options that are free. I currently am not using plastic straws or plastic utensils when getting food to-go. It is as easy as saying you don’t need any utensils. Along with giving up plastic utensils, I have not been using to-go bags and or plastic grocery bags. When I know I am going to need a bag, I bring one with me. It is extremely simple and I am making a change, while doing something so easy. When carrying groceries, the sustainable bags are easier to carry than the plastic alternatives, as well as hold more items. 

Shopping has been one of the hardest parts of using less plastic. Almost every product in every aisle is wrapped in some sort of plastic. The cheaper alternative is the item wrapped in plastic. Living sustainably may not benefit you financially, it does make you a part of something much bigger. It not only makes the world a better place, but puts you directly in the middle of change. Unfortunately, as a college student I am limited on my budget and unable to purchase certain sustainable items. As much as I would love to be able to purchase these products, I am practicing sustainable techniques that I have worked into my everyday life. 

Unfortunately, there are some plastic products that I cannot live without. For example, there aren’t many options for femine care products that are sustainable. I have done research on sustainable products, and sadly none of them will work for me. Hopefully in the future, there will be more options available for women. 

When completing my first blog, I counted how much plastic I used in a day. While almost everything I touched was made of plastic, I noticed that cleaning products, beauty/care, and groceries were the most plastic wrapped. Sadly, these are the items that most people use the most in their daily lives. In Beth Terry’s book, she explains a shopping checklist to help with sustainable shopping. Below I have composed a list of alternative products that do not contain plastic. 

Cleaning products:


Meyers hand soap (3 pack) Blue Land hand soap (3 pack)
Bounty Paper towels  Grove Collaborative bamboo paper towels 
Germ X hand sanitizer  Earth Hero hand sanitizer 


Wet Wipes Eco by naty aloe wet wipes
Pantene shampoo Captain Blankenship sea shine shampoo
Dove deodorant  All Good natural deodorant 


Grocery products:

Kettle brand sea salt potato chips Christie’s Chips sea salt potato chips
Bare banana chips Zero’s banana chips 
Mission flour tortillas  La Princesita flour tortillas  

Since taking this class, it has made me realize just how much plastic I use. It isn’t something I am proud of, but I am learning and overcoming the obstacles of living a more plastic free lifestyle. My advice for someone wanting to live plastic free is to start small. While these changes seem minute, if enough people use a little less plastic everyday, there would be a huge change. It is as simple as filling up your water bottle instead of grabbing a plastic water bottle. It is these small changes that create a big impact. We can do it.


Its the Little Things

I don’t think it is an individual’s intention ever to live a life full of plastic and completely full of debris and waste; however, no human is perfect and we all have been trained to always engage and consume products that are at our convenience due to our hectic and busy lives. The question to be asked though is if you had the opportunity and resources to change, would you? I think most people would answer yes to that question, myself included, because, with the freedom, resources, and opportunities to do better for our world, most people, especially my generation would be willing to take the small steps they need in order to become more plastic-free.

I would consider changing many things, it’s more about the sustainable products cost and the availability to me readily as a college student without a car. However, it is my intention through this class to learn ways to change multiple little things in life that will hopefully transition my patterns and habits into more sustainable options that will continue to influence those directly around me. I do believe that making small changes in my daily life, whether it’s encouraging my friends to buy groceries from the farmer’s markets on Sundays, or consciously choosing to opt-out of straws when dining in, will leave a subtle impact on those around me to slowly change small habits as well that can make a small difference in their plastic consumption habits as well. It’s valuable for humans to make multiple little changes in order to increase sustainability because no matter the size or value of the small contribution towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle, the more sustainability mindset increases. 

Deli meat. Deli meat has been the hardest, although not specifically a plastic item, to replace to be completely plastic-free. Whether I am buying the turkey, ham, salami, or whatever it may be, from the shelves lined along with the grocery store or asking for fresh cuts from the actual market within the store, there typically is always some plastic element involved. Whether it be wrapped or packaged, there is hardly anyway I have been able to avoid the placement of one-time usage disposable packaging on my deli meat. Granted, if I was a vegetarian this issue would be completely avoidable; however, experiencing life in a big family [Eight people total] deli meat was always a staple as a convenient way to grab a quick source of protein and move forward with the day, and this was done with little to no throughout of the aftermath of the plastic wrappers and containers that all of it was kept

Although there is good news, with many different companies realsing more eco-friendly products, there is hope to create a more sustainable everyday lifestyle. I have created a list of ways to create a less plastic waste lifestyle from Beth Terry’s examples, and have consciously tried to find more reusable and sustainable products when I go shopping.

There was three things this week that I replaced with more sustainable options:

  1. Fruit– instead of buying fruit in plastic packaging from the grocery store, a friend and I were able to find compile fresh fruits into a small tote bag we had brought last Saturday at the a mini market they had after the Cooper River Bridge Run. This little change of how I receive fruit was not only a fresher and healthier option but also cut out any plastic packaging that would have been used in the production and consumption of fruit at any grocery store. As the market was so close to the dorms I faced no challenges getting the fruit and only reaped benefits from the interaction and will most likely to continue to search out food markets in downtown and strictly buy my fruit from that.
  2. Milk Jugs– After realizing the amount of milk jugs disposed off, with little ability to fully recycle them into new products, I have moved to buying cartons in hopes to produce less plastic waste overall. I actually found I liked this option more as I didnt necessarily need a full gallon jug of milk complelty for myself and have discovered I actually not only waste less plastic, but food product.
  3. Ziploc-After going to the store this week I decided to buy some small reusable bags for small snacks and products I take with me from place to place. While I found it more convenient to just throw out a small bag after using it in the trash as I was walking by, making the conscious decision to put it in a reusable, washable bag has made me feel better and more sustainable in my habits overall. From this point forward I hope to continue using this method and get rid of Ziploc all together.

In my advice I would say go for it, make the small changes, only positive interactions with yourself and the world can come from the little things in life!




The world of plastic.

Growing up I always used plastic but never kept track of how much I used nor did I know how bad plastic can really be.  For 24 hours, I have kept track of what I have touched that are made out of plastic materials. Even the disposable items I have used. Some of these items include:

  • plastic water bottles
  • Ziploc bags
  • disposable coffee cups (k cups)
  •  body wash(container)
  • garbage bags 
  • mechanical pencils
  •  drink cans
  •  dish cleanser
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrush
  • hair comb
  • mouse(computer) 
  • keypad(computer)
  • gel pens
  •  calculator 
  • plastic plant
  • eyeliner packaging
  •  plastic bowls
  • plastic utensils
  • plastic cups
  • some of my clothes
  •  many food wrappers

(Disposable items I collected from one day in the picture)

Because I have had a pretty repetitive day since I have come up with a routine for myself,  I use the same amount of plastic from day today. This includes most of the disposable plastic I have listed. I learned that disposable plastic I use can vary from time to time because I don’t go out every day but when I do I notice I use a lot of plastic. I also noticed that I dispose of a lot more plastic than I do with plastic that isn’t usually disposable. I also learned that many of the things I touched, I didn’t realize that they were made out of some type of plastic. It definitely shows that more and more things are made with plastic and most people don’t realize it. Even me.

Compared to my total plastic footprint using disposable plastic can differ. With disposable plastic, I am only using it once and then getting rid of it. With usual plastic items, especially the ones I have never realized were plastic, I continue to use them over and over in everyday use. Most people would usually get rid of disposable plastic and not reuse them. Unfortunately, I have done that many times. 

While living through this experience,  I’ve also noticed that when moving around on the outside of my dorm I touched more plastic items than I did on the inside of my dorm. I feel like it also depends on the day. The first day I kept track of the plastic, I didn’t touch that much because I was in my dorm all day, but when I walked around outside and even went to my classes I touched a lot more plastic. Obviously, I touch and use a lot of plastic as most people do, but I feel like depending on the day and what I do each day, also has an effect on how much plastic I use or touch. 

I definitely want to try and reduce the amount of plastic intake I use. I also want to know more about where I can put the plastic after I use it. I have noticed that around campus there are a lot of trash cans that are labeled, trash, compost, and recycling. I have been using that to my advantage and making an effort to take care of the plastic that I use. I have also learned that there are many ways that can help decrease your plastic footprint. You can carry your own reusable cloth shopping bags, compost food waste to reduce your use of plastic garbage bags, recycle, look for clothing made from natural fibers and shoes that don’t contain plastic, and educate other people to maybe try and do the same. (Priesnitz) .


When reading Beth Terry’s book as well she says in her book that “Guilt is not encouraged.” I definitely agree with her because having too much guilt in your life, especially with using plastic, can have a bad effect on your life. Instead, try doing things from here on out to try and change things for the better. 



Priesnitz, Wendy. “Twenty-five ways to reduce your plastic footprint.” Natural Life, Jan.-Feb. 2013, pp. 22+. Gale In Context: Science, Accessed 17 Sept. 2021.