Earth Day’s almost here, and it’s a good time to reflect on your habits. How often do you buy plastic bottles? How can you change that with recycling and water filters among other methods?
As you may be aware, plastic waste is a major problem that harms the environment and public health. Each American throws away an average of 185 pounds of plastic every year, and over 85% of that makes its way into the environment.
Where does plastic waste go? Nowhere, which is a profound problem. In fact, there’s an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating off the coast of California, and it’s 90% plastic. This plastic gets into the bodies of all sorts of marine organisms, many of which we eat.
We’ve written here before about ways to reduce plastic waste. This time, we’re honing in specifically on how to reduce plastic bottles you waste. Here are five things you can do to get started as well as some Earth Day events near Chicago to celebrate and continue our efforts.
1. Replace Disposable Bottles with a Reusable One
The first thing you can do is to stop buying drinks in single-use plastic bottles and instead carry a reusable water bottle. This way, instead of buying and throwing away a couple of bottles throughout the day when you want a drink, you just refill your bottle.
This is great for replacing bottled water with water from a water filter you keep at home or at work. You don’t have to stop there, though. While we love water, you could also fill your bottle with juice in the morning, green tea at lunch or even soda from a drink fountain.
2. Recycle Plastic Bottles You Buy
Even still, there’ll be times when you buy plastic bottles. Whether you’re stocking your fridge with juice and soda, or you’re out and don’t have your reusable bottle, you’ll end up getting a drink in a plastic bottle.
That’s okay since our goal is to reduce our plastic bottle waste, even if we can’t eliminate it entirely. Though China has stopped buying our plastics, you shouldn’t just throw that plastic away. Recycle it, so that it can be turned into other plastic goods and not end up in a landfill or ocean just yet.
3. Invest in an In-Home Water Filter
Here’s how to eliminate plastic from your life: Invest in a whole house water filter. An NSF 44-certified water softener or an NSF 58-certified reverse osmosis (RO) system from Angel Water provides clean, safe and refreshing water at every fixture of your home. In fact, tap water is already at least as clean and healthy as bottled water, so adding a water filter will mean you’re drinking water even better than what bottled water companies are selling.
This way, whenever you want some water, you won’t have to grab a plastic water bottle—you can just grab a glass and drink as much as you want. In particular, for abandoning bottled water altogether, RO systems are most effective.
Think of the items beside bottled water you won’t have to use. Our customers enjoy using a tenth of their former cleaning supplies. With a water softener specifically, you can save up to ten times more plastic because the cleaner water will keep you from going through as many bottles of detergent or Windex.
For example, the primary ingredient in Tide and Cascade products is a liquid softening agent. So, when you buy a water softener, you can reduce your Tide and Cascade purchases by 10%!
4. Replace Plastic Bottles in Your Shower
Plastic bottles aren’t just used for drinks, though. They’re used for all sorts of products, including soaps, shampoos, bleach, detergent, etc. Wherever possible, try to replace these with eco-friendly alternatives.
Many products are now available in cardboard boxes. You can also look into green cleaning, a trend where people are starting to find ways to replace cleaning products with things they already have at home, like baking soda.
5. Ban Plastic Bottles in Your Home and Work
Of course, you can’t solve the world’s plastic problem alone. The best way you can contribute is by bringing other people into the fold, too. If you have enough influence, you can even get everyone in your home and workplace to commit to avoiding plastic bottles.
A water filter is a great way to accomplish this. As we mentioned above, the water that a water filter provides is actually superior to bottled water. Another selling point you can use is that it will actually save money. If your workplace or home buys bottled water, or even gets it delivered in 5-gallon bottles, they’re paying more every year than they would to maintain a water filter that provides unlimited clean water at every fixture.
6. Go to an Earth Day Event
In addition to making these five changes to cut back on plastic, you should also participate in an Earth Day event. It’s a great way to celebrate all our positive efforts and get the family involved! Here are some local conservation events in the Chicagoland area:
Party for the Planet at Brookfield Zoo
The zoo is always a great place to introduce your family to nature, and Brookfield Zoo’s Earth Day event makes it even better. Activities include flower and tree planting, zoo chats and more. Plenty of earth-friendly vendors will be present, and a recycling drive will be accepting items. The event is free with admission—see their website for details.
Earth Day Activities at the Trailside Museum of Natural History
Each year, the Trailside Museum of Natural History encourages patrons to take interest in preserving our natural future. This Earth Day, you can help gallery workers plant trees, make a bird feeder to hang from a tree in your backyard, create cool art from recyclables and pick up litter from the surrounding area. Parents are welcome to participate, too!
Stay Tuned for World Water Day Events at Local Institutions
Fewer people may know about World Water Day on March 22nd. Look for updates from your local aquarium about possible events on World Water Day. It’s important to take some time to appreciate the crystal-clear water of Lake Michigan that supports families all over Chicagoland.
Angel Water Champions Our Planet!
This Earth Day, start a conversation with family and coworkers about banning bottled water, invest in a water filter, and go to one of the many meaningful Earth Day events in the area. Together, we can raise awareness of environmental issues, build a better future for our kids and enjoy the taste of a cleaner planet’s cleaner water.
For product information, quotes and more, contact Angel Water. We’re the premier water treatment company in the area, meaning we’re your go-to provider for a water filter in Barrington, IL and the surrounding Chicago area. Give us a call at (847) 382-7800 and start cutting back on plastic today!
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in April 2017 and updated in March 2023.