Where Can I Buy Plastic Bottles [PORTABLE]
Every person reading this has used a plastic bottle, many of whom likely used one in the past day or week. Plastic, in the recent decades, has become a staple of convenience and a modern lifestyle. The surge in plastic bottle use has accompanied a desire for bottled water as Asia has modernized its lifestyle.
where can i buy plastic bottles
Several recent reports indicate the dire global situation associated with the world's plastic use. Two statistics jump out immediately. One, that globally humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute. The second, 91% of all plastic is not recycled. On top of that, it is estimated that over half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold in 2020.
Plastic bottles are commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (Pet), which take 400 years to naturally decompose, yet is highly recyclable. On geologic timescales, 400 years is not significant and one may make the claim that we can just wait it out until the bottles naturally decompose. However, there are two significant issues with this. There are no signs of decreasing plastic use, hence the plastic decomposition clock will constantly be reset. Secondly, and more importantly, we must understand how this increase in plastic waste globally will impact other systems and their function.
It is estimated that by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish. The plastic that finds its way into the oceans inevitably will pose a risk of ingestion by sea birds, fish, marine mammals, etc. It's not uncommon to see articles of sea life found dead with significant amounts of plastic in their stomach.
While these impacts may seem individualized and uncorrelated with the sushi you eat at your local sushi shop, they are not. Recent studies point to increasing amounts of plastic within the seafood you and I eat on a regular basis. A recent study by Ghent University in Belgium, for example, found that people who regularly eat seafood ingest up to 11,000 tiny pieces of plastic each year. Another study by Plymouth University found that one-third of all fish caught in the UK contained tiny pieces of plastic.
A tool developed on Plastic Drift shows you where plastic is likely to end up in the oceans when the user chooses an initiation point. This drives home the global impact of a coke bottle leaving the shores of New York on western Europe and Africa.
Landfills are another major sink for plastic bottles globally and present a wholly different set of issues. Thankfully, landfills have in their favor that the plastic within them are stationary and accessible. Based on current projections, it is estimated that 12 billion metric tons of plastic will find a home in landfills by 2050.
On the positive side, we are able to more directly manage landfills compared to plastic in oceans. There are numerous regulations, albeit they vary widely by country, as to the environmental protections required at a landfill. This means the biggest risk of plastic within landfills is the potential that the plastic will not be contained. Thankfully, if managed correctly, the Pet plastic within landfills does not pose a significant risk to groundwater contamination. However, that says nothing of the vast amounts of other waste in landfills that can be a significant risk to groundwater.
In China, landfills are often absent of plastic bottles due to the army of workers collecting plastic bottles for recycling. The motivation is not, however, environmental but economic. The government provides a high price point per Pet bottle that is turned in, which drives millions of Chinese people to head to landfills. Many people make their entire living collecting recyclable plastics and turning them in for cash. This will become increasingly necessary as we move toward optimizing the plastic life cycle.
One thing is clear, the ever-growing demand for plastic is unlikely to be abated soon. Globally, we will have to manage the increasing risk of plastics in our environment and the harmful consequences that lie therein. As any global challenge such as climate change, the likelihood for global cooperation is difficult at best. One of the many enormously difficult and global challenges we will face in the coming decades.
The billions upon billions of items of plastic waste choking our oceans, lakes, and rivers and piling up on land is more than unsightly and harmful to plants and wildlife. Plastic pollution is very real and single-use plastics are small but have a large impact.
The following 10 facts shed light on how single-use plastic is a large problem that most people are a part of. To learn more about the threat and impact of plastic pollution and get tips to reduce your plastic consumption, download our Plastic Pollution Primer and Toolkit today!
As we continue to advocate for the reduction of plastic use beyond Plastic Free July, the issue of bottled water remains a significant problem to not only the well-being of our environment, but the quality of our health as well.
In the U.S. alone, Americans buy an estimated 50 billion water bottles a year from a growing industry projected to reach $334 billion by 2023. Many consumers purchasing bottled water are presented with the facade of a high quality product. In reality, countless companies are simply filtering municipal water and bottling it! Next time you reach for the bottle of "pure" water, think twice as popular brands may be selling you water contaminated with microplastics and toxic chemicals from their plastic packaging.
Plastic is everywhere. Most of us correlate plastic contamination to the destruction of our environment. According to the EPA, only 8.4% of plastic in the United States was recycled in 2017, but the problem continues to expand into the realm of human health. Recent studies show bottled water containing excessive levels of microplastics - small pieces of plastic debris less than five millimeters in size. According to research conducted by Orb Media, 93% of the 11 bottled water brands sampled, all showed traces of microplastics. The study included companies such as Aquafina and Evian, with Nestle Pure Life having one of the highest levels of contamination. Their research also showed bottled water contained about 50% more microplastics than tap water.
Most bottled water is sold in plastic #1, also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Research shows that PET may be an endocrine disruptor, altering our hormonal systems. Although this type of plastic is BPA free, phthalates in bottles can still seep into your water, especially when exposed to high temperatures or stored for an extended period of time. Some companies, such as Poland Spring, use plastic #7 for their 3-gallon water bottles. This type of plastic contains BPA, which has been banned in countries around the world, including the European Union and China, due to its toxicity. BPA exposure is linked to multiple health effects including fertility issues, altered brain development, cancer, and heart complications.
It is not mandatory for bottled water corporations to conduct lab tests or inform consumers where their water originates. In contrast to bottled water, tap water suppliers must undergo testing to show contaminant levels, offer quality reports to consumers, meet EPA standards, and disclose their water sources. This means bottled water isn't always the safest option. Additionally, bottled water can be on average 1,000 times more expensive than tap water. So why are we still purchasing bottled water that pollutes our environment and impairs our health? As the obsession with bottled water brainwashes society, I felt compelled to ask people why they felt the need to make this purchase. Countless conversations later, I noticed a recurring theme: a desire to have safe and healthy drinking water.
If you're not sure if your tap water is safe, check your Consumer Confidence Report, which outlines the contaminant levels of your tap water. We also urge you to reach out to your local water supplier to find out where your water comes from.
We can all do our part to reduce plastic pollution. Check out Clean Water Action's award-winning ReThink Disposable program which works with businesses, restaurants, schools, communities, and individuals to help them make the switch from single-use disposables to reusables. Not only will this save you money, it will help improve your health and keep our planet clean.
Plastic Free July is a global movement that empowers us to be part of the solution to plastic pollution. The concept is simple: Participants are challenged to take account of their current plastic use and reduce their reliance on single-use plastics.
In the U.S., Americans went through about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year with a dismal 23 percent recycling rate. A North American study last year found that 22 million pounds of plastic goes into the waters of the Great Lakes each year. The researchers from Rochester Institute of Technology said that Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit are the worst contributors to plastic pollution. In Lake Michigan alone, an equivalent of 100 Olympic-sized pools full of plastic bottles get dumped into the lake every year. Like in the oceans, the plastic trash in the Great Lakes breaks down into microplastics, which are consumed by fish and other aquatic life and moves up the food chain.
A widely reported study by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation determined that by the year 2050, the ocean will contain more plastic than fish. Not only that, researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia and Imperial College London found that 99 percent of seabirds will swallow plastic by 2050.
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