On average Americans buy 36.5 gallons of bottled water each year. If we multiply this number with the number of American population it’s easy to see that we consume an incredible amount of bottled water each year. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, total bottled water volume continues to grow. It increased from 11.8 billion gallons in 2015 to 12.8 billion gallons in 2016. That’s an increase of 9%! Despite people bringing their own reusable water bottles with them, consumption grows each year.
Bring your own water bottle
While drinking a lot of water is a good thing, we have to pay attention to what type of water we actually drink. Buying a bottle of water might be convenient at some times but we shouldn’t make it a habit. Each bottle of water we buy we harms our environment. There are so many excellent water bottles available. It’s easy to bring one with you. It’s also convenient to have cold water whenever you want it. The insulated water bottles keep water cold for up to 24 hours.
The main issue with bottled water is the packaging. Most bottled waters are sold in plastic (PET) bottles which have an alarming characteristic. Once they are produced, they’re here to stay. Through the production process, the components of plastic become unrecognizable. This makes plastic non-biodegradable. In the U.S. alone, we generate 79 million plastic bottles each day. The majority of them end up in landfills, incinerators or even worse, in the ocean.
Why recycling is not the solution
Although recycling is the best waste management option, it is still not a solution. During recycling, plastic is made into a new product. It is reused but this process also requires a lot of resources. Also, usually during the recycling process, plastic is down-cycled. This means it can only be reused as a lower grade plastic than it was originally. If we really do want to live a more sustainable lifestyle our only option is to reduce our plastic consumption.
What you can do
Living a totally plastic-free life is possible. It will take some effort and determination. On the other hand, we can still significantly reduce the plastic we use. The first step should be stop buying bottled water. Drink more tap water. You can filter it if you need to. You will be helping the environment and also save a lot of money. While it is inexpensive in a case, bottled water can cost 2,000 times more than tap water!