As convenient as it may seem to “grab and go” with a disposable plastic water bottle, you may want to rethink that habit. There’s not much about it that makes sense economically, for your health or the health of the planet.
Economically, it is a disaster. Buying water in plastic costs over 2,000 times what you pay for tap water. In short order, that money could easily get you some filter pitchers or a filtration tap at the sink, with a few reusable bottles to spare. That water can often cost more than gasoline!
Speaking of fossil fuel, 90% of the cost of that plastic disposable bottle of water goes toward making the bottle; as well as in advertising to tell you how great it is. Approximately one quarter of that bottle’s capacity is how much oil that is used in its production. Approximately 17 million barrels of oil go into making just disposable plastic water bottles per year; enough oil to power about 1.3 million cars for a year! Further, about 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted annually during this production.
The bottled water industry very happily sells over 18 billion dollars worth of minimally regulated water in the U.S. alone, each year. Then we get to the disposable part; approximately 38 billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills, incinerators, or out into the environment.
The most disappointing and hurtful part is that you get a mixed bag side order of plastic microparticles and plasticizer chemicals in your plastic bottled water. That plastic taste and off-gassing is increased by sunlight and hot conditions. Consumed plastic is suspected to cause developmental problems and asthma, as well as disruptions in the functions of the reproductive and endocrine systems in the human body.
Part of the answer is to switch to reusable bottles, made of non-leaching plastic, stainless steel or glass. Your tap water is examined more stringently than bottled water. Some reusable bottles are available with built-in filters, so that you can take water from a variety of sources. It is good to get your water tested at the point of access that you use the most; regardless of whether the water is provided by the municipality or your own private well. This would identify potential problems in pipes as well as the water itself. An investment in a reverse osmosis, distillation or good quality filtration system will be money well invested in health for you, your family and guests.
The dismal recycling rates for these bottles perpetuates the problem and loads even more microplastics into our already overwhelmed lands and waters.
In temporary times of emergency or in disaster areas, there may be reason for plastic bottles. Recyclable “juice”carton-style packs and water packaged by beverage canners can also be used for emergency dispensing; supplemented by bulk water tankers. For your own home, keep some water aside in glass or non-toxic plastic containers in case of emergency disruption. Refresh that water occasionally by watering plants, etc.
Just like breaking the “sad sack” plastic disposable bag habit, you can do something about the plastic disposable bottle and many similar products. It is long past time to stop drinking the plastic.