For Earth Day next week, I decided to do a personal inventory of the amount of plastic in my daily life. I l kept it simple and didn’t include things related to having two young children (it’d seriously skew the number). I only counted plastic containers, products or pieces of plastic I consumed or touched as part of my day. I kept a Daily Plastic Tally for 5 whole days. And the results? It isn’t pretty – on an average day I touch 53 plastic products (the range went from 34 to 76). Here’s my average list of things:

  1. Alarm clock
  2. Shampoo bottle
  3. Soap holder
  4. Razor
  5. Moisturizer
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Deodorant
  8. Toothbrush
  9. Toothpaste
  10. Dental floss container
  11. Trashcan
  12. Hairdryer
  13. Hair products
  14. Medicine container
  15. Make up pods
  16. Lip balm
  17. Cereal liner
  18. Milk carton
  19. Toaster (plastic lever)
  20. Yogurt cup
  21. Dried fruit container
  22. Hot water kettle (for tea)
  23. iPhone case
  24. iPhone charger (wires are coated in plastic and the charging base is plastic)
  25. Credit cards (made of plastic)
  26. Car (so many parts are made of PVCs and other plastics)
  27. Hand sanitizer
  28. Tissue soft pack
  29. Desktop screen
  30. Keyboard
  31. Desk phone
  32. Pen
  33. Presentation remote
  34. Elevator button
  35. Bread bag
  36. Deli meat container
  37. Condiment jar
  38. Refrigerator
  39. Snack zip-top bag
  40. Frozen vegetable bags
  41. Food packaging
  42. Radio/CD player
  43. Light switches
  44. DVD case
  45. TV Remote control
  46. TV
  47. Camera (I take pictures nearly every day with a digital SLR, but the body is mostly plastic)
  48. Various gym equipment (this could get long – think treadmill, bike helmet, swim goggles, push up bar, etc)
  49. Random kitchen tools like spatulas, measuring cups
  50. Dishwashing soap
  51. Sponge scrubber
  52. Dish drying rack
  53. Laundry soap and measuring cap

 

To be fair, plastic is unavoidable in certain things and in some ways it can reduce the weight of products or increase the convenience. But as I kept tallying – day after day – I kept realizing I could make better choices and cut down on the plastic in my life.  For the last 36 days, I’ve been tweeting the 1 green thing (see #my1greenthing) and challenging myself to make an effort to be better for my health and the environment. Thankfully my water bottle is glass with silicone grippers and cap and I switched to glass food storage containers. Small changes add up.

So what do you think? Or better still send me your Daily Plastics Number and any tips you have to cut down on the plastic.