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  • Writer's pictureYi Yu

Plastic Perception: Yi Yu, Week 9

Updated: Feb 26, 2022

What is Plastic Perception?

Plastic Perception inherits the essential purpose of the Beth Terry’s Plastic Challenge, which is to bring consciousness to one’s usage of plastics in everyday life. In addition, Plastic Perception aims at analyzing my habit of plastic use and putting such habit into a larger context. A bigger context means anything not under my direct control. It implies asking questions such as “where does this plastic come from”, “how will the plastic be treated after going to the landfill/recycling center”, “how and why was the plastic created in the first place” etc.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Name: Yi Yu (Stephanie)

Week: 9 (2020/12/10-2020/12/16)

Total weight: 144g (5.08 oz)

Commentary of the Week

It’s not a magnificent discovery anymore that the great majority of this week’s plastic comes from food. Not going to lie, I truly appreciate the convenience of takeaway food and any to-go meals. In fact, the living-on-takeaway-food lifestyle ingrained my high school days. I used to purchase lunch at the FamilyMart one footbridge away from my school. The price for everything in China is overall cheaper than that in the US. Each bento meal box at FamilyMart in my city cost $3-$5 dollars. The price itself speaks a lot for why the chain convenience store was always packed with students during weekdays.

Mentioning my lunch buying habit might offer you a glimpse of how purchasing outside food has become an unshakeable routine of mine. Therefore, In 2017, the first year I arrived in Los Angeles, I wasn’t able to get rid of this city lifestyle easily, but the higher cost for dining in restaurants and getting takeaway meals has certainly pushed me to commit cooking for the health of my wallet. Fast forward to almost the end of 2020, I could confidently say that I’ve cooked more frequently than how much I used to cook three years ago. Although it’s still unlikely for me at this point to get rid of having takeout or packaged food entirely, especially when I turn too tired due to work or school, the trend of signing off from such lifestyle has become obvious.

Evidently, I’m aware that cutting off this lifestyle doesn’t necessarily indicate I’ll be living plastic free or living with very little plastic. Even if that happens, the next set of problems occurs -- food waste, carbon footprints generated by food transportation and me (mostly my partner) driving, the amount of unnecessary energy lost during cooking, etc. I know, so many things to worry about, right? I understand that not every one of us has ample time to contemplate each step we take in life, calculate the outcome, and make the best decision (which never exists). I don’t have that time and energy either. So, what now? "Me doing this alone won’t make a difference anyways." "Why should I change how I live?" To answer this question, or to give an idea of what that answer might look like, I recommend you this documentary called Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for A Sustainable Future directed by Jordan Osmond and Antoinette Wilson. Thanks for reading. Good night and good day!

Wrote on Dec 20, 2020

Los Angeles

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