Naturally, all of us drink water, and many of us opt for bottled water instead of tap in an effort to stay healthier. But drinking from a disposable plastic water bottle isn’t necessarily a healthier option—and it has a highly negative impact on our environment.
It starts well before a plastic bottle even touches your lips. Creating one year’s worth of bottled water requires 17 million barrels of oil, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars or power 190,000 homes. And after a plastic bottle is disposed of, it might become one of the 38 billion bottles that end up in our landfills each year. Even worse, it might wash into the ocean, where plastic waste kills 1.1 million marine creatures annually.
What’s more, plastic water bottles sometimes contain harmful chemicals like BPA, which means that “healthier” bottled water could actually be causing serious health problems.
This infographic from Printwand is a helpful breakdown of the most important facts and statistics that you should know about disposable water bottles, along with the criteria to look for when choosing a reusable alternative (such as those available here).
Maybe you’ve seen those “BPA-Free” stickers on plastic water bottles before. Having them labeled that way makes it seem like a dangerous chemical, but you can find BPA in all sorts of things: DVDs, shatter-resistant eyeglasses, baby bottles… it’s even in resin that lines some cans of food, and in thermal paper receipts that you get at the store.
The Story of Stuff, originally released in December 2007, is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the Stuff in your life forever.
Manage your waste
Separate your garbage at home. Reuse what you can, send those that can be recycled to recycling plants, and collect organic waste for compost. By managing your waste properly, you will be able to send only those meant for landfills.
Make do with things you already have
Buy less crap. Next time you go out shopping, resist the temptation of purchasing trinkets, thingamabobs and what sits you only find cute but really don’t have any use for at all. Instead, make do of things you already have.
Go for organic food
When doing grocery, go for produce from local farmers. Local produce reduces the need for transporting food. It’s healthy for you and the environment.
Get a reusable bag
A reusable bag when going shopping not only is it convenient (carrying all your grocery in a single bag), it also lessens plastic bags that end up in the trash every minute.
Switch to energy-saving appliances
You can start by switching to energy-saving appliances. Check the energy label – more stars means more energy efficient.
Line dry your washed clothes
Instead of using the dryer, line dry newly washed clothes and sheets. It saves electricity and forces you to exercise altogether.
Choose safer cleaning products
When purchasing cleaning materials, choose those with ingredients that have less impact on the environment and human health. You can also choose those with recyclable packaging to reduce garbage.
Green up your work space Commit to turning off electronics in your office every night. Have your whole department do this for maxium impact.
Green your ride Evaluate how you currently get to work each day and make a pledge to reduce your impact. If you can ride the bus, bike, walk, or car pool, make this pledge.
Never buy bottled water again Trade your bottled water habit for an at-home filtering pitcher; pair it with a reusable bottle
Brew your own Fair Trade coffee Carrying your own coffee in an insulated travel mug helps you reduce waste from cardboard cups and carrying sleeves.
Cut back on paper towels Invest in a few cotton cloths and some fabric napkins; then drop them in the wash when you run a load of laundry. Using the cloth alternatives is just as easy as using the paper versions.
Become a weekend vegetarian Cutting meat out of your diet just two days a week can decrease your carbon footprint by about 1/3 of a ton — and coming up with meat-free meals for Saturday and Sunday isn’t as hard as it sounds. Try pancakes and fruit for breakfast; fresh salads or roasted vegetable sandwiches for lunch; and veggie pizza, bean soups, and creamy risottos for dinner. And since doubling a recipe rarely adds any time to your prep work, you can make extras to eat throughout the week (and trim your carbon footprint even more).
Replace your lightbulbs Replacing your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights may be the ultimate change for the eco-slacker.