To stay hydrated, a human body needs about half a gallon of fluid intake per day. The healthiest choice is drinking water, and more and more people are paying attention to this; therefore, the bottled water industry has been constantly growin — and by now, Americans are drinking more bottled water than soda. On average, Americans drink 36.5 gallons per year, which contributes strongly to the 79 million single-use plastic bottles we use daily.
But what happens to the bottles after they are emptied? Unfortunately, in the U.S. only about 30% of PET bottles are recycled. While this is a start, there are still countries that we can look up to: in Germany, for example, 93 percent of all PET bottles are recycled. Increasing recycling rates shouldn’t be our main goal though, because it doesn’t completely solve the problem of plastic pollution. Only 25% of recycled plastic bottles are re-made into new bottles; the rest are shredded and processed into plastic flakes used to make carpets, garden chairs and plastic bags or other plastic objects, which, in the end, are not recyclable. What we should be aiming for is reducing our plastic waste.
Plastic is unfortunately present in countless common household products. Food is packaged in plastic, our electric appliances contain plastic and even our clothes are partially if not entirelymade out of plastic. While cutting all of these out of our lives and eliminating plastic entirely from our lives would take quite some effort, there are numerous simple solutions to reduce the amount of plastic in everyday life. One of them is by drinking tap water.
This may sound obvious at first, but when you think about it, why do we even drink bottled water in the first place when 90% have access to clean tap water that meets all health standards? What’s more, in the U.S., tap water is more strictly regulated and often of higher quality than bottled water. It’s also worth mentioning that bottled water can cost up to 2,000 times more than tap water. What’s the point?
Organizations and institutions are trying to help increase awareness about the absurdity of the bottled water industry. Numerous colleges and universities have banned bottled water from their campuses and the city of San Francisco has even made it illegal to sell plastic water bottles. If they can banish bottled water, so can we. Forget the annoying plastic bottles — invest in a personal refill bottle and help make our planet a little bit better every day!
For more information, check out the following infographic: