What Price are we Paying for Plastic Water Bottles?
The True Price of Plastic. Guest Blog by British Solomon
The pollution from plastic water bottles has reached epidemic proportions. It is catastrophic in every sense of the word. On average, the median UK household purchases 480 plastic bottles in one year, but only 270 of those gets recycled. If water bottles were biodegradable and decomposed in a few days or weeks the bottle problem wouldn’t be so severe, but water bottles don’t biodegrade they photodegrade, which means it will take at least 1,000 years for your water bottle to decompose. Decomposing water bottles will be leaking pollutants into our water supplies and soil for all those years. Studies have shown that these pollutants released into our environment are the cause of many health issues such as cancer and reproductive problems.
The Price You Pay
Money is not the only thing you lose by purchasing plastic water bottles. You may also be damaging your health. If you have a water filter, you can save a big amount of money each year and avoid the toxins in the plastic. The average cost of tap water in the UK is 0.1 pence per litre, compared to 65p for 1 litre of bottled water. For a family of four if you are spending £4.27 per case of water or about 7.5 litres per day this amounts to £1558 per year.
Compare this to a water filter. Using the basic pitcher style system which cost about £15 and needs a new filter every 150litres. Figure in the cost of tap water for about 2763 litres per year, the cost of filtered water comes to about £291 per year.
The first thing you can do is replace all plastic bottles with stainless steel water bottles. This will not only be better for your health but will bring a big benefit for the environment. Stainless steel does not react with your drinks and keeps the water tasting great without transference of odors. Just reusing a plastic bottle is not the solution because the bottle is emitting toxins that can be dangerous to your health.
When you do use a plastic, water bottle be sure and always recycle it. And if you’re out for a walk and see some plastic bottles along the way, you could pick them up and send them to recycling centres.
The Price the Environment Pays
Bottled water consumption worldwide is estimated at over 155 billion litres a year. That is enough water to fill 62,000 Olympic swimming pools! It’s no surprise that plastic makes up 90 percent of all the trash floating on the ocean’s surface, for every 2.6 square kilometers of ocean, 46,000 pieces of plastic are floating around.
To make all these water bottles requires about 17 million barrels of oil every year. To give some idea how much oil that is, it would fill one million cars a year with fuel.
The petroleum product polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is used to manufacture plastic bottles, and they require large amounts of fossil fuels manufacturing the bottles and transporting them. The energy needed to manufacture a bottle of water is 2,000 times what it takes to produce the same amount of tap water.
The best solution would be to completely stop purchasing plastic water bottles, and use water filter or reusable water. If your lifestyle demands that you purchase a certain number of plastic bottles, the best thing you can do is to make sure each one is recycled. They can be taken to a recycling center or put in the plastic recycling container of your city waste disposal facility. At least when you recycle plastic, you keep it out of landfills and the ocean. Don’t be afraid to spread the message. Tell your family, friends and colleagues about the devastating effect bottled water is having on the planet.
British Solomon is a contributing writer and media specialist for Rock Bottom Bottles. She regularly produces content for a variety of ecofriendly and lifestyle blogs.