Contributing to a green movement can be as simple as a few easy steps done in aggregate. At the end of the day, little changes can go a long way. One simple step is removing plastic bottles from your life.
Water is a great resource. For some of us, water is something we take for granted. The bottled water industry uses plastic bottles to help make things easier. It worked! An entire industry was created out of the convenience of bottled water.
But it comes at an environmental cost. From litter, to energy and oil waste, to emissions; when the water is done, the plastic remains.
Americans consume 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. For each plastic bottle consumed in the United States, four more are consumed worldwide. Unfortunately only 10% of the plastic bottles make it to recycling, leaving 90% unaccounted for.
Consider this, each year the bottled water cooler business:
- Consumes 140 million kilowatt hours of electricity
- Wastes 2.7 billion gallons of water
- Burns close to 6 million gallons of fuel
- Consumes 1,500,000 barrels of oil
- Dumps more than 35,000 tons of waste into landfills
What’s The Alternative?
The best thing about bottled water is the convenience. You can enjoy the same convenience with a single reusable water bottle and your tap water. If everyone came together on this, think of all the saved money. Think of how many fewer deliveries would be made to retail stores (there wouldn’t be need for 5 gallon water jug deliveries anymore). Think about how fewer bottles would be in landfills, on the side of the road, or our lakes and oceans.
For some, tap water doesn’t seem appealing. This may be due to marketing. The truth is water doesn’t usually get much “cleaner” and “fresher” than tap, despite the impression bottled water labels suggest. Unless something is really wrong with your water source, the tap water is typically the same quality as what comes in the plastic bottles and jugs. Granted, all water can benefit from an extra use of filtration (something companies like Brita or Culligan help in the consumer market, and Quench Water in the business sector) – by filtering out dissolved solids, there can be even better tasting water. But it’s not a necessity for most.
Grab yourself a reusable bottle at any retail store – Klean Kanteen, Nalgene, and Sigg make some affordable, stylish ones. Fill it up with tap, and drink from that instead.
The average American drinks 30 gallons of water per year. Wouldn’t it be better if it were from the tap, rather than environmentally-unfriendly bottles?
Bill Shaver is a writer and environmentalist out of the Philadelphia area, focusing on green articles and business.
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