Ban the Bottle: An Easy Lifestyle Change with Significant Environmental Impacts

 By Rachel Roberts

966608_24258993In the United States, it takes approximately 17 million barrels of oil to produce enough bottles of water to meet our yearly demand—that’s almost enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars or power 190,000 homes every year. Although bottled water tends to be viewed as convenient, in actuality, there are very few qualities that make them more convenient than reusable water bottles.

In a way, bringing your own reusable water bottle and filling it up at a water fountain is much more convenient than finding a store that sells bottled water, having to wait in line, and then pay for water that would have otherwise been free. In 2009, Americans spent about $10.6 billion dollars on bottled water, paying up to 1,000 times the cost of tap water.

An average American uses about 167 disposable water bottles per year, and ends up recycling only about 38 of those bottles. Rather than being recycled, many plastic water bottles end up in our landfills, lakes, streams, and oceans.

302302_9926Every year, we throw about 38 billion water bottles into landfills. Most plastics are manufactured from petroleum and take a few thousand years to decay.

Plastic water bottles are expensive both in amount of money paid per bottle, and the toll it takes on the environment. On average, a reusable water bottle typically costs between $15 and $25 dollars. Using it however could save you about $550 dollars per year!

Using a reusable water bottle reduces your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of fossil fuels and toxins released into the air during the production and transportation of plastic water bottles. Producing bottled water requires up to 2,000 times more energy than is required in the production of tap water.

387747_9194Although bottled water is often believed to be safer, tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which makes the results available to the public. The Food and Drug Administration regulates   bottled water, but only requires weekly testing and does not require the results to be shared with either the EPA or the Public.

Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said in an interview with The New York Times, “there is no reason to believe that bottled water is safer than tap.” And if you don’t like the taste, simply use a filtered water pitcher.

So invest in a reusable water bottle and a filtered water pitcher. It will reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of plastic water bottles accumulating in our landfills, oceans, and rivers. This simple and easy lifestyle change can have significant impacts on the amount of waste we produce per year, and the amount of fossil fuels we use.


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