Plastic bottles

Action: Stop buying plastic-bottled water

Take action: stop buying single-use plastic drink bottles and switch to carrying a reusable bottle. Did you know that every minute, the human race consumes around a million plastic single-use drink bottles?

A million every minute!

According to The Plastic Soup Foundation, less than half of all purchased plastic bottles are collected for recycling, and only 7% go to make new PET bottles. Most plastic bottles end up in rubbish dumps or in the environment. It is estimated that every year perhaps 13 billion kilos of plastic waste ends up in the ocean; bottles are a fair proportion of this pollution.

Plastic bottles

Even if these figures are guestimates and extrapolations, there is no denying that the numbers are huge, and that the plastic is damaging. Plastic bottles do not biodegrade, they simply break up into smaller and smaller pieces, entering the food chain and decimating wildlife at various stages. Even if “properly” disposed of into our waste systems, they account for millions of tons of landfill.

So this weeks action is to limit your contribution to this massive waste problem. Please simply stop buying plastic-bottled water.


The alternative

In developed and many developing countries we have a ready supply of drinking water. Where this exists, there should be no reason to buy bottled water. It is expensive, pollutes with the plastic, and is no better for us than tap water. In fact, some recent concerns about microplastics being found in bottled water have been raised, meaning that filtered tap water may actually be cleaner and healthier.

You can purchase a re-usable water bottle for a few pounds, dollars or euros. This can then be used time and time again, saving you the cost of bottled water and other drinks. Simple and cheap examples can be found by searching for “reusable water bottle” in your browser.

Reusable bottles can be used for other drinks too, such as fruit juice, squashes, smoothies, sodastream, and so on. Sport energy drinks – usually sold in plastic bottles – can be made up using powders instead and your reusable bottle filled.

And did you know … sports drink bottles are amongst the worst offenders environmentally because they often include a second layer of a different plastic as a label, making them very difficult to recycle – read this Daily Mail article for more about this.

Why is this helpful?

Quite simply, this action will reduce the number of single use plastic bottles used, and that subsequently enter and damage our eco-systems.

This will in turn reduce all of these things:

  • the volume of plastic placed into landfill
  • the use of (fossil fuel) resources used to make the bottles
  • littering
  • pollution of our oceans
  • injuries and death to wildlife, on land and sea
  • injuries and death to livestock
  • carbon emissions from manufacture, and the transport of full bottles (heavy truckloads)
  • carbon emission from recycling the bottles (if they even get that far!)
  • pollution of our own water supplies and food chains

Also, of course, on top of all that the move to a reusable bottle will save you money. If you take a standard 500ml bottle of water each day to have with your lunch, or on your walk or run, the savings can mount up to hundreds of pounds, dollars or euros each year.

In fact, we are struggling to think of any reason why, in a developed country with good water supplies, anyone would want to buy bottled water. Everyone should be able to take this action. If you can do this, click the green “I’ll do this” button below and you’ll see our “thank you” as an acknowledgment. If you can’t see the button or thank you message it means you need to register as a Rotary World Saver or login – please click the “members area” button at the top of this page.

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