Featured Image Photo Credit: Mark Rourke / Associated Press
By Molly Connell with contributions by Jose Luis Gutierrez-Garcia
Modern and conventional plastics are made from oil and gas.
Oil and gas derived plastic will never degrade naturally, once produced it will always be present on Earth or Ocean in one way or another.
One million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.
Coca-Cola is estimated to make 110 Billion single-use plastic bottles every year, more than half of which don’t get recycled.
538 Billion plastic bottles will be thrown away every year for the next three years.
Considering how much plastic we use in our everyday life, we generate an ungraspable amount of everlasting plastic waste and also use up valuable resources in the production process.
This is why we have to be very cautious about plastic pollution in the oceans. Once plastic ends up in the oceans, it gets into the food chain of ocean animals. Depending on the size and shape of the plastic piece it is dangerous to different species. Turtles often consume plastic bags thinking they are jellyfish, whales have been eating large pieces (over 70 cm long) of plastic thinking it is a squid.
Every year there are less fish eating more plastic. At the rate in which we are polluting the ocean it is estimated that in 33 years, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
In 2013, Canadians purchased 2.4 billion litres of bottled water which equals about 68 litres per person and this number is only expected to increase given that the world consumption is also increasing. The continued increase in per capita consumption indicates that consumers see bottled water as a healthy alternative to other packaged beverages.
Although a certain portion of the plastic bottles is recycled, this consumption still generates an alarming amount of plastic waste, part of which will inevitably end up in the oceans. Why do we buy bottled water in the first place? Is buying water in the store so much better than tap water that it’s worth the cost?
Many think bottled water tastes better but in blind tests, participants preferred tap water over several brands of bottled water.
Others buy bottled water because they believe it’s healthier. This assumption is not entirely correct. While tap water is controlled by the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, which spell out the maximum levels of potentially harmful substances that are allowed in drinking water, bottled water is not subject to the same guidelines, its regulations are less strict.
Monitoring of water quality in the bottled water industry is “essentially voluntary and internally regulated,” a 2009 study by the Polaris Institute, an Ottawa-based non-profit environmental advocacy group, found.
“Water from the tap is subject to more rigorous water quality guidelines than bottled water.
Bottled water producers insist they perform a comparable degree of testing on their water to municipalities, but the results do not have to be made public — although some companies do post sample water quality analyses online.”
Being aware of all the harm bottled water does to the environment, and that it doesn’t offer healthier or better tasting water than tap water, is it really worth buying?
We don’t think so…
If there is any way we can reduce the plastic pollution in the oceans, it is all our responsibility to do so.
While, of course, improving the waste management system is an option, it is only the 2nd best one.
We should do our utmost to solve this problem sooner, therefore our main goal should be to reduce our waste and reuse materials in their original form.
What would this mean for our everyday life?
Many people associate a sustainable lifestyle with limitations, but that isn’t necessarily the case. There are several easily adaptable ways one can significantly reduce plastic waste; avoiding plastic bottled water is one of them.
Here are extremely practical, elegant and available solutions to you right now:
1. A sleek, elegant water bottle designed to change the way you find, carry and drink water.
2. Self-filling water bottles harvest water from the air.
Photo credit, pictures from “What a waste! The absurd industry of bottled water” infographic: http://trademachines.com/info/bottled-water/