Tapped Out

tapped-outWhat is it that makes plastic water bottles so popular? Is it the convenience of its handiness or the ease of tossing it anywhere right after you gulp its content upside down? Why is it easy to grab those plastic water bottles and so hard for us to dispose them properly? Did you know that both activities can harm your health and the planet that you’re residing at? Let’s take a good look as to how water bottles work and what are the ways to get rid of it in the society and in our homes.

Last 2007, statistics showed that Americans spent $11 billion for bottled water, which is equivalent to almost 8 billion of gallons, accounting to almost a million of barrels of oil for the manufacture of plastic bottles each year. In 2012, it increased to 9.67 billion gallons from 9 billion in 2011. Despite the campaigns, organizations, and activities that are all promoted to lead to the elimination of bottled water, people still continue to use it, and, sadly, continue to dispose them improperly as well. Although we couldn’t eliminate the fact that plastic water bottles may also have its own advantages like convenience, accessibility, and affordability, its risks to your health and to the environment could never outweigh its advantages.

Its Pros and Cons

Surely, plastic water bottles may be convenient when traveling, taking it to school or office, or grabbing it after jogging at the park. However, what’s convenient to you may not be convenient to the millions of marine inhabitants that are suffering from the equally millions of plastic water bottles being thrown into bodies of water everywhere. In line with this, the birds of prairie are even suffering from the result of this improper disposal of plastic water bottles as they tend to feed on whatever they sees at the beach, at the park, or on the road. The chemicals used to create plastic water bottles are bound together which is not easily dispersed by certain processes like burning or melting. On the one hand, if you burn plastic, the chemicals could add up to the tons of greenhouses gases in the air, adding up to the rising problem on global warming. Because of these, plastics are always difficult to dispose, which force local and national governments to find more and more places to dump these stuffs into.

Undeniably, plastics are really cheap, but its toll on our health and to the environment can never outweigh to amount of cents that you save from buying plastic water bottles. Firstly, it contains chemicals and these tons of chemicals like PETE or polyethylene terephthalate, BPA, and BBP or benzyl butyl phthalate can leach from the bottle to your body and cause tons of physical issues, too. These have the potential to disrupt normal activities of body hormones; cause kidney and lung issues; heart ailments; and a lot more. In fact, it can even cause disability to fetuses when taken in large amounts.

Ways to Abolish Plastic Water Bottles In Educational Institutions and in Communities

Despite the many activities and organizations that people do to diminish the use of plastic water bottles, some remain adamant. Thankfully, there are a number of educational institutions and communities that are more than willing to be part of the campaign as they make sure that they do every step to instill plastic bottle free zones in their areas. For one, Concord Massachusetts has been the first community in the US that bans the sale of individual sale of plastic water bottles; thanks to the activists who faced a 3-year ordeal just to push through this law. On the one hand, popular educational institutions like Brown University and Harvard University ban the sale of plastic water bottles inside its premises. The University of Vermont has also declared its support to the ban of plastic water bottles, which commences this year. Harvard has instilled numerous hydration stations inside its campuses to reduce trash and is eliminating plastic water bottles in its vending machines. Some colleges encourage freshmen to go for tap water by welcoming them with stainless free refillable water bottles that they can use at hydrating stations inside the campus. Finally, the law on banning plastic water bottles had been mandated in all campuses in the US since the beginning of this year, which could somehow minimize its remnants in the country.

Use Alternatives

If you think that life might be a bit difficult without the presence of plastic water bottles, think again. Think about the times when plastic water bottles did not exist and the amount of plastic wastes is not as tumultuous as it is today. Nevertheless, there a lot of plastic bottle alternatives in the market, and that include glass bottles. Grandma used to give us milk in glass bottles and it really tasted good sans the chemicals.

There are also safer plastic water bottles like Nissan Thermos Briefcase Bottle; Kleen Kanteen stainless steel water bottle; Nalgene; and Sigg resin coated aluminum sport bottle. While most of these cost more than $10, these are all safer than the conventional and cheap plastic water bottles. These are also healthier than those.

So choose what you like best – cheap but harmful or expensive but healthy and eco-friendly?