Series: Sustainability and You
The convenience of plastic materials, whether plastic bags, bottles, or any other type of packaging, is slowly poisoning the environments we all live in. I’ve learned this terrifying truth while conducting an environmental research experiment on sustainability for my class at John Jay. I pursued a lifestyle that would reduce my plastic waste since I thought it had been too much. After a month or so of continuing this habit and buying items like reusable bags and water bottles to guide me in the right direction, the results I gathered were shocking. When looking at my data for just a 30 day-span of this project, the reduction in waste is both scary and gratifying at the same time. In that 30-day period, I managed to reduce my plastic bags used from 84 to 15, my plastic bottles used from 24 to 4, and my plastic utensils (from delivery) from 12 to 0. It wasn’t truly easy doing this, but it wasn’t really hard either. After the purchase of reusable items like grocery bags and bottles, my numbers began to shrink dramatically for plastic use. There have been times when I had to buy a plastic water bottle or bag, but it made me feel a certain way when I accepted them. It’s that feeling that I experienced that made me feel so gratified by this experience since I truly felt this way in my heart and mind now and I have a better understanding of my own impact on the environment I call home.
Almost everyone can change their habits similarly to how I have done and continue to do. It may take a little extra money to buy the supplies, like a reusable water bottle but with the money saved, as well as the good done for the environment, it will be worth it over a short time. As a society, we must break away from this fast-paced mentality and convenient lifestyles to truly understand the harm we are continuing to create for the places we reside in. The use of water bottles and other plastic packaging is definitely convenient, but I also know from my research that we can accomplish these tasks in other ways and forms that can help reduce the damage that has already been dealt to the environment from humans.