As another week without plastic water bottles comes to an end, I am convinced this practice should be a societal norm, meaning, as my post stated last week, we should consider banning all plastic water bottles. Not only is this sustainable behavior easy to follow through with and very inexpensive, it provides significant environmental benefits. Most Americans have access to clean drinking water, however we are the world’s largest consumer of bottled water. On average, Americans use about 50 billion water bottles every year and only 23% of these plastic water bottles are recycled, meaning 38 billion plastic water bottles are thrown into landfills or become pollution (Speer, 2012). In the United States alone, 1.5 million barrels (about 910 million gallons) of oil are used annually in the production of plastic bottles and if that oil was not used for plastic water bottles, it could fuel 100,000 cars for a whole year (Greeniacs, 2013). This sheds light on another significant environmental problem which is energy consumption. We all know our natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate which is why scientific focus has been shifted towards renewable energy. If the production of plastic water bottles was scaled back or even almost completely gone, then 1.5 million barrels of oil could be allocated elsewhere, thus making a small dent in the oil crisis. Aside from production, the trucks, airplanes and boats on which water travels, add to the consumption of fossil fuels while concurrently causing air pollution and global warming.
Another environmental issue with plastic water bottles is the water itself. Many believe bottled water tastes better or think that it is cleaner than their tap water, however this is not true; much of the bottled water is filtered tap water (Speer, 2012). The water that is extracted and used for bottled water is sometimes routed from its natural source, thus disrupting the entire ecosystem. By re-routing natural water, citizens in those areas and farmers may rely on that water source which then in turn negatively impacts their lives.
Thus far, the hardest part about changing my behavior is remember to refill and take my reusable water bottle with me. There were a few times this week that I had forgotten it at home and was tempted to buy a plastic water bottle from lower. Forcing myself to only use reusable water bottles has greatly changed my behavior, quiet possibly forever. Not only do I believe in the positive environmental impact of using reusable water bottles, I also can save a significant amount of money for myself. I believe a major reason people do not participate in more sustainable practices is because of their lack of knowledge for environmental concerns and practices but also because they do not appreciate their personal benefit. However, if they were made aware of their savings by using reusable water bottles, I believe more people would participate in this sustainable behavior.
Greeniac. “Buy a Reusable Water Bottle.” Consumer Products. Greeniacs.com, 27 Aug 2013. Web. 14 Apr 2014. <www.greeniacs.com>.
Speer, Anh. “Reusable Water Bottles Help You Go Green and Stay Healthy.” Green Products. iSustainableEarth,com, 6 Jan 2012. Web. 14 Apr 2014. <www.isustainableearth,com>.