Bottled water, a disputable topic that leaves most of us guessing. At first glance, it just seems like a convenient and accessible innovation. Look a little closer. See the truth behind these plastic wolves in sheep’s clothing. Of course, many of us grow up drinking bottled water. Whether at social gatherings, work, and even in the comfort of our own home, it has become normalized. Initially, bottled water was the miraculous solution to end the fears of drinking tap water. Many companies used this fear. They generated a demand for the bottled water industry. Then, the demand for bottled water led to the mass production and distribution of plastic. In fact, there are over 1,500 plastic bottles used in the U.S. every second.
How does bottled water affects both our environment and our health? Here are some mind-boggling facts.
#1. 68 billion plastic bottles are thrown out each year.
With other sources of plastic pollution, over 6.4 billion tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year. Unfortunately, these plastics create large oceanic wastelands, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. According to The Ocean Cleanup, “covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas or three times the size of France.”
#2. Plastic pollution harms marine ecosystems.
Horribly, over 100,000 animals die every year due to the unintentional consumption of plastic debris. Not only is this is incredibly harmful for the ecosystems. Equally, it threatens humans. Moreover, the plastic consumed by fish ends up harming the people who consume the fish. Then, the harmful chemicals from plastic intoxicate the bloodstream.
#3. Plastic bottles are hazardous to human health.
Significantly, plastic bottles contain many harmful chemicals. Over time, they seep into the water. For example, one I’m sure most of us are familiar with is BPA. BPA is a chemical used to make plastic clear and sturdy. BPA has been linked to various forms of cancer, birth defects in children, and early puberty for girls. Furthermore, plastic bottles also contain phthalates, which increases their flexibility. This chemical has been known to have many reproductive and developments effects as well.
#4. Tap water has stricter regulations than bottled water.
Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This requires local communities to generate annual water quality reports. The reports indicates the source of the water, potentially harmful contaminants, and treatment processes. Both the EPA and local residents have access to such reports. On the contrary, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bottled water companies are not required to disclose any information on the water source, levels of contaminants, and processes.
#5. Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than tap water.
This is equivalent to paying $10,000 for a sandwich. An average family in the U.S spends $100 per person/per year on plastic water bottles. A family of 4 could save $400 annually by switching to tap water.
Again, none of us are perfect. Certain situations and emergencies call for the use of plastic bottles. It’s important to make a conscious effort to reduce our plastic consumption every day. Through this, we can make a greater impact on the world around us.
As the former chief scientific adviser of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, David MacKay noted, “If everyone does a little, we’ll only achieve a little. We must do a lot.”
Presently, there are some easy ways you can make a difference. Altogether, in your daily life and in your community, you can help combat the plastic crusade of the millennium:
- Switch to reusable water bottles, produce bags, utensils, and food containers, etc. Something as simple as using reusable alternatives to plastic can reduce our carbon footprint tenfold!
- Try a water filter for your home. This will allow you to switch to tap water. The environment thank you. So will your wallet.
- Recycle the plastic you use. Nobody’s perfect. Being conscious of the plastic we consume and how we dispose of it can make all the difference.
Overall, small changes can add up to big change. By adding new healthy habits and subtracting our uses of single-use plastics, we can create and inspire change. Ultimately, people learn by example and it’s up to us to be that example. Luckily, people make these changes every day. Even companies are working toward making innovations in plastic recycling. Next, click here to read more about plastics effects and see more ideas for eliminating single-use plastics. Finally, read about what the UN is doing to end plastic pollution.