As we share more of an international focus to define and meet global environmental targets, many individuals also contribute by such means as recycling plastic and toting reusable grocery bags. Not all plastic is recyclable but many do what we can with recyclables to prevent further environmental damage; but is there a way to measure how much change we are actually effecting on an individual level to halt the plastics crisis? Or, rather, how much as individuals we are contributing to it?
Several organizations have created diverting apps that let you input your daily, weekly, or monthly use of specific plastics and then tally them to allow you to see how much plastic you use in a year.
Will you be able to congratulate yourself for using less than the national average amount? Or will you watch in horror as, for instance, the Greenpeace U.K. app allows you to scroll through a pictorial of your embarrassingly large amount of plastic waste? (Because a picture is worth a thousand words.)
Greenpeace U.K. app: this friendly online app asks a series of questions to help you discover your plastic footprint, then quickly gets to the point by displaying your results and having you scroll through your year of plastic shame consisting of used plastic bags, ear swabs, straws and other such detritus. It ends on a positive note, offering easy suggestions to reduce one’s plastic footprint.
Omni Calculator’s Plastic Footprint Calculator: part of a series of diverse online, problem-solving calculator widgets, this calculator allows you to input your plastic use by household genre (food and kitchen, bathroom and laundry, etc.) and then compares your yearly plastic usage to global, U.S., and European averages per person. The calculator also outlines statistics about plastic in the ecosystem and tips for how to reduce your dependence on plastic.
The Earth Day Network’s Plastic Pollution Calculator: not for the faint of heart, this online calculator not only tallies the amount of plastic you use and waste in a year, it insists on your input of a “Yearly Personal Reduction” for each type of plastic that you use—everything from plastic cling wrap to toothbrushes—forcing you to face the reality that you have the ability to reduce the amount of plastic that you waste each year and still live a fulfilling life.
My Little Plastic Footprint: this Android and iOS app both calculates users’ plastic footprints and engages them with interactive plastic waste quizzes and pledges to reduce plastic waste. Users can connect with events and follow the app’s collaborating famed surfers, artists, and conservationists, such as marine consultant and diver Pierre-Yves Cousteau. Sponsored by the Plastic Soup Foundation.
Written by Nicole Foulke