There are a multitude of problems that result from the production, consumption, and disposal of plastic bottles that it’s difficult to keep this post short. They fill our oceans, take up space in landfills, require fossil fuels to manufacture and transport, increase air pollution during incineration, take about 1,000 years to degrade, and are much more challenging to recycle than many people believe.
Using disposable bottles can actually be harmful to humans, because they contain Bisphenol A, or BPA, which then contaminates the contents in the container. There are major known health issues associated with consumption of BPA, even in small amounts. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that imitates the effects of estrogen and has been clearly linked to a variety of health problems including certain types of cancer, neurological difficulties, heart disease, early puberty in girls, reduced fertility, premature labour, and defects in newborn babies. Not to mention, in the U.S. tap water is actually tested more frequently than bottled water. So contrary to popular belief, a reusable bottle filled with tap water is typically safer than bottled water.
The main issue when it comes to other animals is that they are eating the bottles and caps. Currently, bottle caps are not recyclable and many of them end up being consumed by a variety of species ranging from birds to sperm whales. These plastics can be broken down to “microplastics” which are consumed by microorganisms. When the little fish eats those microorganisms and the big fish eats the little fish, these plastics begin to accumulate in each successive animal’s stomach, until eventually there is no space left and they starve to death.
The solution to these issues is switching to a glass or metal reusable bottle. Not only would you be keeping plastics out of the environment, protecting countless species from the harmful effects of pollution, and reducing your own consumption of microplastics, but you’d also save an average of $250 a year.
Business Insider reported that last year the the U.S. consumed a whopping 2.6 billion disposable plastic water bottles, with the average American using 167 bottles. If you assume each bottle was only $1.50 (which is on the lower end of some bottled water prices), you could save $250.50 on bottled water alone. ConvergEx Group Chief Market Strategist Nick Colas stated that bottled water is “almost 2,000x the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline.” With price markups like that, who wouldn’t want to use a reusable bottle? The average cost of a reusable bottle is $10, although I have seen them range anywhere from $1 to $45. However, even if you were to buy the most expensive bottle, you still have the potential to save more than $200. One bottle could last for decades, saving you $2,500 every 10 years. Oh, and the cost of using tap water instead? 49 cents…for the whole year. So what are you waiting for? Go start saving! (Style points for adding stickers to your new, reusable bottle.)
-Save more of your wallet by extending this practice to all bottled drinks.
-Save more of your planet by adhering to the three magical R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you find yourself in desperate need of water and you’ve forgotten your trusty reusable bottle, the best option is to go for a glass bottle, then an aluminum can instead. If you really can’t avoid the disposable bottle, then try to reuse it by turning it into a planter for herbs, a bird feeder, or any of these fun activities!