I tried to figure out how much plastic I used every year – my answer was shocking.
Over the last few months there has been a lot of noise in the media about the plastic problem. We all know we use too much. We’ve all seen the videos, showing us the state of our ocean. Plastics are the hidden problem. Yes, we use them, but then they go away. They get carried off in the bin lorries every week, never to be seen again, right?
Except they don’t go away. They are seen again. They are seen in the oceans or dumped on the side of a road. Almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists – so why aren’t more people taking notice? Because we can’t see it.
This week I made a point of trying to “see” how many pieces of plastic I used every year. This is how you do it.
How to figure out how much plastic you use every year.
- List everything containing plastic that you use. That’s everything: from cotton buds to the plastic wrapping on your frozen pizza to the laptop I’m using to type out this blog post. Absolutely everything. (If you’re a subscriber, you could use the Plastic Audit sheet in the vault for this).
- Next, note how often you use this item. For disposable plastic items such as plastic food containers, note down how many individual uses in a week. For items which are not disposable (such as laptops or DVD cases), note down how many purchases you make in a month or year.
- Calculate the yearly figure. Now that you have your weekly, monthly or annual figures, it’s time to figure out what that looks like in a year. For weekly figures, multiply by 52. For monthly, multiply by 12. Annual figures stay the same, naturally!
- Know that you can do something about this. All is not lost. You can do something about this! For easy ways to get started, check out my post on easy ways to ditch plastic.
My results: how much plastic do I use every year?
I did a quick calculation by walking around the house, listing everything I used and following the guidelines above. The results were shocking: I use at least 2,500 pieces of plastic every year. I say at least, because I’m sure I will have missed something. Probably lots of somethings!
It might be unrealistic to picture a world completely free of plastics, but there’s so much more we can do. Every one of us has a duty to live responsibly and that means not only taking care of ourselves and the ones we love, but our planet too. I am going to double down on my efforts to reduce plastic use and I hope you do too!
How much plastic do you use every year? Were you as shocked as I was? Let me know in the comments!