The majority of plastic bottles used throughout the world are for drinking water. According to the Guardian, a million plastic bottles are bought around the globe every minute. This figure is expected to increase an additional 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis that experts fear could be as serious as climate change.
The Issue with Water Bottle Consumption
Some of the scientific concerns associated with the consumption of water bottles include:
- A large portion of plastic water bottles are manufactured from a petroleum product known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and require significant amounts of fossil fuels not only to make but to transport. Over 1.5 million barrels of oil are required to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing alone and don’t account for fossil fuel and emissions costs of greenhouse gases needed to transport the final product to the market.
- Recycling plastic bottles is not as simple as most of us believe. Although PET bottles are recyclable, all other plastic bottles are not. In fact, of the mass numbers of plastic bottles consumed globally, most of them aren’t actually recycled because only certain types of plastic bottles can be recycled by certain municipalities. Less than half of the bottles purchased in 2016 were collected for recycling and only 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles, according to the Guardian, who claims that most plastic bottles produced end up in landfills or in the ocean. Studies demonstrate that between 5m and 13m tons of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans each year to be ingested by birds, fish, and other wildlife – thus eventually making its way into the human food chain. Research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation even indicates that the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish by 2050.
- Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, emit toxic fumes. Experts estimate that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become “litter”. This plastic litter leaches toxins into the water, which have been linked to a multitude of health hazards
What Can I do About It?
The answer is simple: choose to refuse single-use plastic bottles.
Eco-Friendly Reusable Water Bottles
Below, we’ve put together some great eco-friendly reusable water bottle options to help you stay hydrated while avoiding plastic.
Klean Kanteen manufactured the first stainless steel water bottle. As a B Corp that’s considered a pioneer in the space, the company not only ensures that all of its products are made with eco-conscious materials, but it also contributes organizations that are working to fight climate change
- Price: Beginning at $15 for an 8 oz. bottle
- Features: Single and double-insulated wall options, 18/8 stainless steel, lifetime guarantee, 38 hours hot/135 hours cold
Mira’s line of water bottles provides a perfect combination of adventure, sustainability, and style for a cost-conscious and eco-friendly alternative. Available in a wide variety of styles and designs, their BPA free, reusable, and insulated stainless steel products keep your food/beverage hot or cold for hours
- Price: Starting at $15 for 17 oz.
- Features: 18/8 stainless steel, leak-proof, 12 hours hot/24 hours cold, BPA-free, double-walled vacuum insulation
Byta’s reusable water bottle is well-insulated, BPA-free, and splash-proof. Plus, each bottle comes with a wooden cap and carry a ring, so you can easily transport it with you wherever you go. This product was started as an alternative to plastic cups. In fact, Byta hopes to rid the world of 500 billion disposable cups every year
- Price: Starting at $31 for 20 oz.
- Features: Stainless steel, double-wall vacuum insulation, BPA-free, splash-proof
Purist’s water bottles are made with stainless steel and also have an interior glass finish to ensure you always taste the freshest water. They’ve also teamed up with pear to support homeless and transitional youth, so not only does this plastic alternative function just like you need it, but they also give back to the local community
- Price: Begins at $40 for 10 oz.
- Features: Interior glass finish, double-wall vacuum insulated, minimalist look, leak-proof, 12 hours hot/24 hours cold
EarthLust is a company that’s continuing to work towards sustainable, ethical production. Their bottles are made from recyclable stainless steel, and most feature artwork inspired by Mother Nature
- Price: $16-21
- Features: 18/8 stainless steel, BPA-free, unlined, available in unique designs
Kore Water’s recyclable water bottles were born out of a response to the single-use water bottle industry
- Price: $10-$25
- Features: Made from Eastman Tritan glass. Leak-proof, no-slip base. Not only BPA free, but it’s also free of halogens, sulfur, nitrogen, lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium (used in much other reusable water
Yuhme has created reusable water bottles out of sugarcane that is 100% recyclable and equally impactful. In fact, Yuhme has an ongoing partnership with Water for Good which allows them to provide three months of clean water in a number of countries worldwide—so you can save waste while simultaneously provide clean drinking water
- Price: $30 for 750 mL
- Features: Made from sugarcane, BPA-free, 100% recyclable
Refusing single-use plastic bottles by carrying your eco-friendly reusable water bottle (such as one of the options we just discussed) is the best way you can help tackle the plastic problem. However, we are all human and sometimes, humans make mistakes! If you forget your reusable water bottle when you go somewhere, don’t feel discouraged. You can certainly find a fountain, ask a cafe for a glass of water, or perhaps even find an eco-friendly water bottle alternative to purchase. Boxed Water’s water, for example, is manufactured from sustainable, well-managed forests, and are 100% recyclable. This product has 64% lower carbon footprint than plastic bottles, 43% less fossil fuel, and 1,084% lower impact to our ozone, and is available for purchase at a variety of retailers, cafes, and even fitness studios.
With climate change continuing to accelerate, we have to take action now to reduce our environmental footprint and waste as much as we can. One small, but impactful, adjustment we can all make is to switch to a reusable water bottle. If you’re looking for other ways that you can help positively impact our planet, be sure to familiarize yourself with Kiwi Energy’s innovative electricity and natural gas solutions.