You may not think twice about picking up a plastic water bottle at the airport or a concert venue and then tossing it in the recycling bin whenever you finish hydrating. After all, plastic water bottles are easy to use and accessible—you can find them pretty much anywhere you go.
But all this convenience comes at a major price for the environment on which we all rely. Single-use plastics (such as plastic water bottles) add to our landfills, pollute our oceans, and cause untold devastation to wildlife and the environment as a whole. What’s more, plastic water bottle production contributes to climate change.
The good news? There’s a straightforward solution to the plastic water bottle conundrum. We simply need to use less of them. Plastic water bottle bans in cities, states, and entire countries have made major strides, as well as people converting to reusable bottles.
Take a closer look at plastic water bottle use around the world plus why it’s so important to ban the bottle.
On February 2017, The Guardian published an article about how much of the plastics are recycled in the world. Everytime we go to the supermarket we see shelves full of food in plastic packagings or in boxes made of mixed materials and we simply take them without thinking where do they go after we throw them into the “Recycling” bin. We take for granted they will be recycled because they have the triangle with the arrows little symbol, right? Unfortunately… is not the case.
Below, we present a simple visual with the shocking numbers based on this publication. And even though there are companies trying to make biodegradable plastic, the problem is still there. See below some of the many reasons to give up on plastic and go zero waste.
“Most of us wear synthetic fabrics like polyester every day. Our dress shirts, yoga pants, fleeces, and even underwear are all increasingly made of synthetic materials — plastic, in fact. But these synthetic fabrics, from which 60% of all clothing on earth is made, have a big hidden problem: when they’re washed, they release tiny plastic bits — called microfibers — that flow down our drains, through water treatment plants, and out into our rivers, lakes and oceans by the billions.”
Since plastics were first introduced to the U.S. during the mid-late 19th century, we’ve been dependent on the material for it’s versatility, convenience, and function. Currently, plastics are one of the most used materials on a volume basis in U.S. industrial and commercial life. Unfortunately, the sheer mass of plastic used to make containers, packaging, appliances, plates, cups, and so forth has gravely impacted the environment. An estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic occupy each square mile of ocean and at least two thirds of the world’s fish stocks are suffering from plastic ingestion.
Alternative materials—such as reclaimed wood, steel, and glass—can help gradually reduce our reliance on plastic and pose less of an impact on the Earth. Reducing plastic use can range from short term decisions—swapping plastic sandwich bags for washable canvas or throwaway plastic utensils for metal ones—to more long term changes, such as trading in your plastic picnic tables for reclaimed wood barn tables. Making smart swaps can make a big difference over time.