How Plastic Bottles Are Killing Life On Earth
With approximately 700 brands of bottled water available in stores, it can be tempting for consumers to opt for packaged water instead of more environmentally-conscious choices.
The seemingly endless negative effects that discarded plastics can have on the environment and on human health require that socially-conscious consumers rethink how they drink water. Learn more about how recycling helps protect clean drinking water around the world:
- How Recycling Can Keep Our Waters Clean
- Plastic Not-So-Fantastic: How the Versatile Material Harms the Environment and Human Health
- Plastic Recycling
- Recycling Tips of the Week: Plastics
The Big Lie
The perception of bottled water as being healthier to drink than tap water has also contributed to the high rates of pre-packaged water consumption. The truth is that the Environmental Protection Agency EPA sets extremely high standards for public drinking water systems, while bottled water remains largely unregulated. This means that there are systems in place which consistently test and monitor the safety of water that arrives via tap, while bottled water is usually not subject to the same stringent testing procedures.
The marketing and advertising teams of many bottled water companies often insist that their products are somehow purer and fresher than water that flows through a tap. Close inspection of labels, however, can quickly point to an interesting fact: some of the most popular brands obtain their water from municipal sources! Many of these companies simply bottle tap water in a factory and ship the products to be sold at retail outlets. Meanwhile, water sits in a cheap plastic container for months or years, leaching out harmful phthalates while waiting to be purchased.
If you have specific concerns about your local water supply's quality, you can consult the Environmental Protection Agency's reports on water quality for your area.
- Tap Water, Bottled Water and Filtered Water: Which to Choose? PDF
- The Environmental Protection Agency's Local Drinking Water Information
Here are a few more reasons why an in-home water filtration system is more cost effective, healthy and better for the environment than purchasing bottled water.
Almost two million barrels of oil are required to construct the plastic that goes into making water bottles. Since oil is a nonrenewable resource, the construction and use of water bottles can be unnecessarily taxing on both the environment and energy resources. By straining available resources, carbon footprints and environmental impact are also increased.
Excess water bottles negatively affect different parts of the Earth's environment every day. Discarded plastics can be eaten by animals, which can result in injury or death. Plastics that float in water sources can transport harmful elements to each other. Dangerous chemicals can even leak out of plastic as it attempts to degrade in landfills, which can find their way into groundwater and affect the health of humans. For these reasons and many others, the use of plastic water bottles should be conscientious, and recycling should be attempted as often as possible.
Plastic water bottles contribute to landfill overflow because manufacturers often use non-biodegradable materials to construct them. With over 30 billion plastic bottles finding their way into landfills every year, environmental impact exponentially increases as water bottles pile up. While some companies have begun to take measures to lower the impact that their products have on the environment, including using less plastic and even choosing more sustainable construction materials, drinking bottled water continues to be a wasteful exercise, when more viable and Earth-friendly alternatives exist.
That Plastic Water Bottle Taste
If taste is a deciding factor for you when choosing your water source, compare the quality of bottled water with the quality of water filtered through a Berkey. Check the label of your bottled water. Do you see ingredients like calcium chloride, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, and magnesium sulfate? These are all introduced to preserve the taste longer and longer as the water sits on a shelf. Fresh, clean drinking water from a Berkey filter, such as Royal Berkey (3.25 gallons) and Big Berkey (2.25 gallons) doesn't need to be treated with chemicals and salts to taste fresh.
Take Your Water To Go
Refilling your own water bottle, instead of depending on single-serving plastic bottles, can drastically reduce the burden on your local landfill. For maximum value and safety, consider investing in a stainless steel or glass water bottle -- which are both free of Bisphenol A, a toxic chemical contained in plastic that is made even more harmful when exposed to heat. By drinking out of a stainless steel or glass water bottle, you'll be free to enjoy your water, without putting yourself at extra risk.