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The prevalence of single serve water bottles is turning in to an environmental nightmare in the U.S., as well as other parts of the world where consumer consumption of bottled water is increasing. Even though recycling plastic water bottles is certainly possible, it's a fact that many people simply toss their drinking water containers in the trash. In
The best solution to the environmental problem posed by the use of plastic water bottles is simply to sharply reduce consumption of single serve bottled water. It's important to realize that using individually packaged bottles of drinking water isn't the best way to make sure the water you consume is safe and healthy anyway. Filtered tap water is much cleaner and healthier than commercially available bottled water. When you install a home water filter system, the tap water that comes out of your faucet will be much safer than the water you get when you purchase bottled water. You'll be able to drink tap water with confidence. You can even protect the environment by packaging your own drinking water using refillable water bottles.
When thinking about the environmental impact of bottled water, it's easy to focus on the enormous quantity of plastic bottles that end up in the trash every year. As serious as the concern over piles of unnecessary plastic filling up the world's landfills is, this issue is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to considering the full environmental impact of increasing bottled water consumption.
When examining the full environmental footprint of bottled water, it's important the think about the cost and impact of manufacturing and marketing the product. Chemicals are used to make plastic bottles, and a significant amount of energy is consumed producing and filling the bottles. Following production, the product must be warehoused and transported to market, resulting in even more energy consumption. Of course, once bottled water is sold and consumed, the waste produced becomes a significant environmental concern.
The increased usage of single serve plastic water bottles is leading to an unprecedented amount of post-consumer waste. Many people think that plastic water bottles don't pose an environmental risk because they are recyclable. It's true that plastic water bottles can be recycled, but only if consumers stop throwing them in the trash.
This is far from the reality of what really happens, as the vast majority of plastic water bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled. It is estimated that 86 percent of plastic water bottles sold in the United States end up in landfills instead of being recycled. Based on current production levels, an estimated 38 billion water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year.
The negative environmental impact of plastic water bottles increases every day, and is likely to continue to pose a serious environmental threat until consumers stop using this wasteful product. It's much more environmentally responsible, and cost effective, for consumers to depend on refillable water bottles for their drinking water instead of using disposable containers that end up in the trash can all too often.
Single use water bottles are intended to be used once and then disposed of. Consumers who choose to use them over and over are using them for purposes other than intended by the manufacturers. Any time a consumer product is used in a manner other than that for which it was intended, risk is involved.
Disposable water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which breaks down over time. It is safe for use as a disposable bottle, but is not designed to stand up to repeated usage. When reused, PET breaks down and releases toxic compounds that can contaminate water and other liquids.
Representatives of the Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA) assert that should not reuse disposable water bottles even once. Because consumers have no way to properly sterilize plastic water bottles, the CBWA advises that reusing plastic water bottles is not recommended at all.
The fact that so many plastic water bottles ends up in the landfill is a serious problem with grave environmental consequences. However, recycling these types of containers at a higher rate will not zero out the environmental impact of single use water bottles. Instead of throwing away or recycling plastic water bottles, the best way to protect the environment is to stop using these types of containers.
The energy required to produce plastic water bottles is really excessive when you consider that the containers are safe to be used only one time. A significant amount of energy is consumed to produce disposable bottles, fill them with water, and then transport them to the shelves of supermarkets and other retailers.
After consumers drink the initial water, they either reuse the containers, throw them away, or recycle them. Reusing these containers poses serious heath risks, such as exposure to bacteria, toxins, and carcinogens. Throwing them away clogs our landfills, and recycling them results in the consumption of even more energy.
Refillable water bottles, such as sports water bottles, are a much more ecologically friendly option. Energy is still required to produce and market these types of containers, but they are safe for repeated use. Instead of burning energy to create a product that is disposed of following a single use, the process of making refillable water bottles can reduce the need for producing so many disposable containers.
To fully understand the threat that single serve water bottles pose to the environment, it's important to realize that these bottles aren't just ending up in landfills in the United States. As if the billions of water bottles that end up in the trash in the U.S. each year isn't bad enough, consumption of individually packaged bottled water is increasing around the world. Staggering numbers of water bottles are finding their way into landfills all over the world.
Nations with the Highest Bottled Water Consumption Rates Include:
· United States
If you enjoy drinking ice cold bottled water, the best way to safely enjoy delicious and healthy water is to bottle your own filtered water in refillable water bottles made of glass. It's easy to clean glass containers, so they are safe to use again and again. Additionally, there is no risk of exposing yourself to the toxic plastic byproducts that can leach into water that is stored in plastic containers. No matter how you look at it, drinking from refillable glass water containers is a much better solution for your health and the environment than single use plastic water bottles.
Of course, you need to be sure that the water you place in your glass containers is safe to drink. You can be assured of a virtually unlimited supply of healthy water directly from your faucets when you install an Aquasana water filter system in your home. The best part is the cost. You'll be able to enjoy decontaminated, chlorine-free water for about 10 cents per gallon with your Aquasana faucet filter system. You'll get a free designer glass water decanter when you purchase your home water treatment system, and you can add a set of six more refillable water bottles to your collection for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a month's supply of single serve bottled water.
Sports water bottles are an excellent alternative to single serve bottled water containers. These types of bottles are safe to use time and time again, making them a much healthier option than disposable plastic water bottles. These refillable water bottles are designed to be washed and reused multiple times, so you won't have to worry about the safety concerns associated with repeated use of single serve water bottles.
Of course, the quality of the water you use in your sports water bottles is a concern. If you have a home water filter system, you can be confident that the water you put in your refillable water bottles is safe for consumption. If you don't have access to filtered tap water, or you want to be sure that you'll be able to enjoy safe water on the go, the Aquasana Purity Sports Water Bottle might be an excellent choice for you.
The Purity Sports Water Bottle looks like a standard drinking container from the outside, but actually houses a powerful Aquasana water filter. You can fill the bottle from any potable tap water source, and the filter will immediately go to work removing chlorine, lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other dangerous contaminants. No matter where you are, you'll be able to enjoy safe and healthy water without contributing to the growing environmental crisis posed by disposable water bottles.
Even if consumers started recycling the majority of single serve water bottles, the widespread use of these containers would still pose a serious and expensive environmental challenge.
The Recycling Chain
Storage: When you use single use water bottles at home, it's likely that you keep some type of plastic recycling container in your pantry or garage. Producing these containers requires energy and can result in the emission of harmful chemicals into the air and water supply.
Pickup or Delivery: If you have curbside recycling pickup, a large truck that uses a significant amount of fuel is dispatched to your neighborhood on a set schedule to pick up plastic containers for recycling. Building and running these vehicles uses a significant amount of energy and fossil fuels, and they produce pollutants when in service. If you don't have curbside pickup, you're responsible for transporting recyclables to your community's recycling center, which uses fuel and energy.
Processing: More transportation, and the associated fuel and energy consumption, is required to transport recyclables to a processing facility. At the facility, several types of heavy equipment must be operated to convert the waste into a form where it can be reused to manufacture new products, again requiring energy.
The Bottom Line
The process of recycling plastic water bottles actually uses a great deal of energy. While recycling plastic water bottles is a better solution than sending them to landfills, the best solution would be to switch from single use containers to refillable water bottles that can be safely used time and time again.
Refillable water bottles, such as sports water bottles, are an ideal solution to the challenge of being able to enjoy healthy water on the go without having to rely on single serve bottled water containers. If you don't have access to a healthy water supply for your refillable water bottle, an Aquasana Purity Water Bottle is a simple and affordable way to control the quality of your on-the-go water supply.
Benefits of Aquasana Purity Sports Water Bottles
·Affordable Portable Water Filtration
· Decontaminates Any Tap Water
· Dishwasher Safe
· Easy-Grip Container
· Effective Contaminant Filter
· Long Lasting Filters (60 days or 40 gallons per filter)
· Reduces Waste
· Replaceable Filter
· Safe to Reuse Again and Again
· Twist off Top for Easy Refilling
Many people are in the habit of reusing plastic water bottles. It seems logical that continuing to use a single serve water bottle after the original liquid is gone would be a good idea. While using bottles several times does keep them out of the trash, it poses a variety of other types of problems. Reusing plastic water bottles poses serious health risks, and should be avoided.
Water bottles are actually breeding grounds for a variety of toxic substances. Researchers have found all types of dangerous compounds in the types of water bottles that people tend to reuse, ranging from toxic plastic byproducts to potentially deadly fecal coliform bacteria. Toxins find their way into water bottles in a variety of ways. They can be introduced via germs on people's hands, or from saliva.
Don't assume that disposable bottles are safe to reuse if you wash them. Washing these types of bottles between uses can kill human introduced bacteria, but creates a whole other set of problems. The process of cleaning plastic water bottles can cause chemicals in the plastic to break down. These substances then contaminate any liquids placed in the bottle. When you fill a previously used plastic water bottle with water or any other beverage, you are placing your health at serious risk.
The belief that reusing plastic water bottles is safe is a mistaken one that can lead to serious health problems. Before you fill up an empty disposable water bottle, make sure you are aware of the risks of your actions. When you refill single use water bottles, you are risking exposing yourself to various types of bacteria, as well as potential carcinogens. Studies have found DHEA, a known carcinogen, and fecal coliform bacteria lurking in refilled water bottles.
The argument that it's safe to reuse disposable water bottles as long as you wash them between uses is false. First, consumers don't have the ability to truly sterilize these types of bottles. If you wash out a bacteria laced water bottle with warm, soapy water, it's a fact that the disease causing bacteria are likely to still be present when you are finished.
Additionally, the type of plastic used to make disposable water bottles isn't designed to sustain the heat necessary for sterilization. If you were able to sterilize your water bottles to the extent that any bacteria were destroyed, you'd likely be exposed to toxic compounds from the plastic when you drank water from them. What you need to remember is that disposable water bottles might be safe to use one time, but they should never be refilled.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|