The rise in the use of plastics over the last 50 years has created an ecological problem in the form of plastic waste collecting in our rivers, streams and oceans, and leaking toxins into the water we consume.
For health and environmental reasons, many conscientious consumers have looked for ways to reduce their plastic consumption. From recycling to using reusable shopping bags, people have started to take on the responsibility of reducing their carbon footprint and contributing less to the plastic problem. And many have added another great way of reducing their plastic use — ditching single-use water bottles for reusable stainless steel water bottles.
While the temptation to use a plastic bottle or disposable cup can be difficult, switching to reusable drinkware is a great way to do your part. Let’s take a look at the impact of plastic water bottles.
What Effect Does Plastic Have on the Environment?
Plastic is not just damaging to the oceans and other bodies of water, it’s also a major contributing factor to climate change.
A plastic water bottle starts off as oil. Even before the bottle is created, it requires the drilling and extraction of oil and its refinement. This process creates a tremendous environmental impact. According to an infographic created by Printwand, it takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make a year’s supply of disposable water bottles. It is also reported that the process of bottling water contributes 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year.
And this is all before the bottle is even used. Once the bottle is disposed of – either properly or improperly – it creates a burden on landfills and our natural environment.
Along with the environmental damage that comes from plastic production, the amount of plastics that enter the world’s oceans each year is also alarming.
According to researchers, plastic water bottles that end up in the ocean and other bodies of water break down over time and turn into microplastics. These tiny pieces of plastic debris are the most common type of pollution and harm marine ecosystems. Organisms at the base of the food chain like plankton and fish larvae are known to consume plastic particles as they filter seawater. Other filter-feeding animals such as oysters and sea scallops also ingest these small plastic fragments and ultimately end up in our bodies.
Additionally, there are several toxic chemicals that are found in common plastics such as phthalates and BPA. These chemicals have been linked to a long list of serious health problems in both humans and marine life.
Why Are Reusable Water Bottles Good for the Environment?
When you stop buying plastic water bottles, it reduces the amount of both plastic production and waste. The number of plastic water bottles that would otherwise end up in landfills or the ocean will fall and by saying no to buying disposable water bottles, you’re voting against the plastic industry with your dollar.
Another reason why reusable water bottles are good for the environment is that they’re sustainable, especially when you invest in one that’s made with ultra-durable materials like stainless steel that can keep your water cold for hours. Compared to the plastic variety, stainless steel water bottles are also non-toxic and do not contain health-harming chemicals like BPA.
Staying hydrated has never been easier and more eco-friendly. Making an effort to curb the massive problem of plastic production and environmental damage with reusable water bottles is the obvious answer and a great first step to take to start your sustainability journey.