Sustainable Living Challenge

Week 7: Can We Ditch the Plastic Bottle Already?

Bottled water is one of the greatest marketing schemes of the century.  When companies started proposing it, it was a laughable idea.  Bottle water?  Next they’ll try to bottle air!  Except that we stopped trusting what comes out of our tap ages ago, and in some cases with good reason.   Once we stopped trusting our water sources, people all over the world got hooked on the convenience of the plastic bottle.  But now it’s time to stop.

If I Had a Nemesis, it Would Be the Plastic Bottle

I’ve already written about the trouble with plastic in previous blog posts (like this one and this one), but I feel like the plastic bottle deserves its own post.  In the process of doing my research for this post, I learned that a million plastic bottles are purchased on a global scale EVERY MINUTE.  That means that in the time it takes for me to watch an episode of Parks and Rec, 22 MILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES HAVE BEEN PURCHASED!

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One of the major issues with this is that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.  It is either sitting in a landfill or polluting natural areas.  For the 9% that is recycled, we’re experiencing other issues.  In the past China was one of the largest importers of waste and recyclables.  No more though!  Back in January, China implemented a ban on 24 types of waste, including the plastic bottle.  Now places like the U.S. are sending their plastic to areas in Southeast Asia instead.  But if we’re struggling with where to put the 9% of plastic that DOES get recycled, we clearly have a bigger problem going on.

If that isn’t enough of a reason to ditch the plastic bottle, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a new review of the potential health hazards of drinking from plastic water bottles.  This is the result of a study performed by the State University of New York, which found that 90% of bottled water contained microplastics.   I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound…delicious.

The Droids We’re Looking For