From April 22, 2015 to April 22, 2016, I tried to give up plastic.
I decided to do this over fear about how this material harms our environment, especially our oceans. This was a two-part challenge:
Part 1. I tried to completely avoid buying items wrapped in plastic or made of plastic (for example, plastic straws), and I tried to “say no” to any plastic items given to me for free (for example, plastic utensils distributed at an event). Mostly, I was trying to avoid what has been termed “single-use plastic.”
Part 2. I wanted to give myself an incentive not to cheat, so I made a second challenge that any plastic I couldn’t avoid, or chose not to avoid, I would keep—for the full year.
Here, more specifically, were the rules I followed during my year of “dumping” plastic (written in April 2015):
- I will try to avoid buying anything wrapped in plastic or in a plastic container
- I will try (when I cannot avoid plastic packaging), to purchase an item that comes in recyclable plastic (i.e. it has the triangle with a number 1-7 symbol on it)
- I will keep all of the plastic that I, myself, accumulate for the entire year (with the exception of plastic items that would be unsanitary to hang on to).
- At the end of the year, I will make a donation to an environmental nonprofit based on the weight of the plastic (recyclable and not) that I’ve accrued over the course of the year. I will make a donation in the amount of $10 for every pound of plastic I’ve used. Let’s be thankful that plastic is light.