The environmental impact of plastic water bottles
Plastic water bottles are among the most wasteful products we use. Every plastic water bottle requires an enormous expenditure of resources and energy to manufacture. Disposing of them presents a whole new set of problems for the environment.
Leaving aside the product itself, each stage of a bottle’s life requires it to be shipped from one location to another, burning staggering amounts of fuel and releasing toxic greenhouse gasses as it travels. Beyond the pollution the bottles create, they also require three times as much water to produce and recycle as the bottle itself holds.
The stages of a plastic bottle’s life
Note how many times your bottle has to travel from one location to the next.
– Crude oil is extracted from the earth then shipped to and processed at a refinery. The refined oil is then shipped to a plastics factory.
– At the factory, chemical processes are employed to turn the oil into plastic, and then shaped into bottles.
– The bottles are then shipped to a bottling plant where they’re filled and packaged.
– From the bottling plant, the bottles are shipped to the stores where you purchase them, and most often, load them into your car and drive them home.
– Waste management services pick up the bottles. Up to 90% of them go into landfills or the ocean where they will remain for hundreds and hundreds of years.
– The remainder will go to recycling centers where more energy is used to sort, melt, and remanufacture the bottles into other products. Those products cannot themselves be recycled, so they will also eventually end up in landfills.
How to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic water bottles
Not only is bottled water terrible for the environment in almost every way, but they are ultimately more expensive to you, the consumer, than are safer, cleaner alternatives.
One great solution to this problem is to install a whole-home water filtration system. You can entirely eliminate your reliance on bottled water by turning every tap in your home into a clean, delicious source of filtered drinking water. Not only will you be helping the planet, you’ll save money in the long-run, too.