Challenge: Show Us Your (Plastic) Trash!

As you know, I’ve been collecting and tallying my own plastic trash since 2007. The experience has been educational for me, and I hope, for readers of My Plastic-free Life. I’ll keep doing it. But now it’s your turn.


1.) Collect all of your own plastic waste, both recyclable and non, for a minimum of one week. If you want to go for more than one week, great! Just keep each week’s collection separate.

2.) What qualifies as yours? Anything that benefits you. So, if your housemate or significant other brings home a tub of yogurt that you both share, the tub goes in your tally. But if you hate yogurt, never touch the stuff, and wouldn’t have bought it for yourself in a million years, it’s not your responsibility. What about stuff for your kids? I’ll leave that up to you. Whatever you decide, just be consistent about collecting it. Personally, I’d be very interested to see how much plastic waste is generated by babies, since I don’t have children myself.

3.) Live normally in the first week. It doesn’t help to artificially reduce your plastic consumption for the sake of a one-week tally if you will go back to living with more plastic afterward. Think of this exercise as a scientific experiment. Nothing more.

4.) Take a photo of your stash and list out the items at the end of each week that you participate. You might also want to include details about what things are recyclable in your community or not. If you have a sensitive food scale, you might consider weighing your plastic as well. A bathroom scale won’t really be accurate because plastic is so light weight.

5.) Guilt is not encouraged. Nor are comparisons with other people whom you perceive to be doing “worse” or “better” than you in terms of plastic waste. This exercise is for purely educational purposes. Guilt doesn’t help.

6.) Answer the questions listed on the form below.

7.) Guilt is unnecessary.

8.) There is no time limit for doing this exercise. This is an ongoing challenge.

9.) Guilt will only get in the way of understanding. It’s not needed for this challenge.

10.) Seriously.


After you have completed the exercise, please complete the following form.  Add as much information as you care to share.  More is better, but don’t feel you have to complete every section.  You make the rules here.

Your tally should appear on the site within 3 days of sending your form since I post them manually. Email me at beth [at] myplasticfreelife [dot] com if you don’t see your challenge post on the site after 3 days.

Questions? Please email me at info[at]myplasticfreelife[dot]com and I will do my best to clarify these rules. But remember, this exercise is for you.