How to calculate plastic footprint?
If you are wondering what your yearly plastic consumption is, check out the plastic footprint calculator:
Start from your everyday needs and shopping habits. How many plastic bags do you take when grocery shopping? How many water bottles do you buy each week? Count all of them and type the values into the proper boxes. Let's assume that you buy 3 PET bottles per week (coke and water), 5 plastic bags (Refuse rule!), 8 food wrappers, and 2 yogurt containers.
Let's move to the laundry, cleaning, and bathroom. Type the values that describe your needs, e.g., 4 cotton swabs/week and 4 detergents, 2 shampoo bottles, 2 refill packets per half year. Add the toothbrushes and toothpaste - in our example it's 3 per year for both of them.
Add all disposable wastes and takeaway containers. Take-away lunch four times per week (don't forget about the cutlery pieces), grabbing a coffee on the go twice per week, a couple drinks with straws and a plastic plate on a Sunday barbecue... Urgh, it's a lot. We know it's quick and convenient, but it's the most shameful plastic waste you can easily avoid. Rethink, refuse a straw, reduce the trash, and bring your own container every time you can.
Plastic footprint calculator will add all the plastic you used throughout the year. In our example, it summed up to 64 pounds (29 kg), and the average for a European citizen is 68 pounds (31 kg). That's a heck of a lot of plastic! To make it worse, we can tell you that this footprint is still relatively small if you are living in the US: the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds (84 kg) a year! Multiply this by 300 million US inhabitants, and you will understand why plastic pollution is such a pressing issue.
Remember that the plastic footprint calculator features only the basic products - your plastic footprint may be much higher if you add some other products, e.g. plastic furniture, boxes, crates, buckets, flower pots, bowls, or any other plastic items.
How can I reduce my plastic footprint?
Well, you can do a lot about that. Take the 4 R's pledge and start from small things: