There are more than five water bottle issues that are reasons to stop buying and drinking from them, but we hope these five reasons will convince you to switch to reusable water bottles.
First, let’s understand how much water you should consume daily to realize how much plastic you’d use if plastic water bottles were your primary source.
Did you know that the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) now recommends a daily water intake of 3.7 liters (15 cups) for men and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for women? That’s a lot of water – significantly more than the 8 cups of water people think is the recommended intake. If your primary water source comes from plastic bottles, it’s time to consider switching to insulated water bottles, as you’re consuming a lot of single-use plastic. Humans are currently estimated to buy over one million plastic bottles every minute. One minute! One million! These are some severe water bottle usage issues.
As a hardcore traveler (I’ve been to over 20 countries in the last two years), the convenience of buying plastic water bottles on the go is very tempting. Still, I’ve made it a priority to always carry an insulated water bottle with me. If you’re in a country with poor water quality from the faucet, a solution is to fill your reusable water bottles at restaurants or hotels that have filtered water. It feels good knowing how many bottles I’m preventing from ending up in the ocean, even if I recycled them.
And if you’re thinking, “But don’t you put all your plastic bottles into the recycling bin as I do?” It’s making less of a difference than you think. Over 90% of these plastic bottles are never recycled, and many end up being dumped into the ocean.
We’re at a critical time and need society to make a wide-scale change. According to GlobalCitizen.org, “In 1974, global plastic consumption per year was 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) per capita. This has increased to 43 kilograms (about 95 pounds), which is still set to increase.” This is an inexcusable amount of plastic that we’re using and will, unfortunately, be a long-lasting negative legacy that we’ll be leaving for future generations to clean up.
Now that we understand how much plastic we’re using let’s discuss the top 5 reasons why you should stop buying plastic water bottles.
Reason 1: Plastic is killing marine life
More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped annually into the ocean. By 2050, plastic in our oceans will outweigh marine life. If seeing images of dead birds, turtles, and fish washed up on shore because they ingested too much plastic bothers you, the problem will only worsen. The good news is that we can solve this problem by minimizing our plastic footprints starting today.
As an animal lover, it breaks my heart when I see images appear on my Facebook newsfeed of marine life killed by our plastic, which is destroying their ocean habitat. Sea turtles, seals, sea lions, seabirds, fish, whales, and dolphins are some examples of animals that are being killed by the millions. These innocent animals either mistake plastic debris for food, get entangled in plastic bags or plastic packing bands, or the microplastics build up over time within their bodies. This needs to end, and I am thankful there are several organizations focused on cleaning up the ocean, such as The Ocean Cleanup and Plastic Oceans.
An even better way to clean up the ocean is to prevent bottles from entering the ecosystem in the first place by switching to reusable water bottles.
Not only are reusable insulated water bottles reducing my plastic footprint, but they’re also protecting my health. This leads us to reason number 2.
Reason 2: Plastic bottles contain harmful chemicals & micro-plastics
We’ve all heard of the acronym BPA and how dangerous it can be for our health, but let’s discuss precisely what it is first. BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It’s a chemical used to create plastic, such as water bottles, and it has been used for the last 60 years. It turns out that the plastic water bottles you’re drinking can allow BPA to seep into the water itself. The Federal Drug Administration has said that low levels of BPA are safe. But what happens if plastic water bottles are your primary source of water? Research shows it could be dangerous over time, and 93% of water bottles contain microplastics.
Additional research has shown that BPA can negatively affect your health in several ways, such as fertility problems, male impotence, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It can even affect the brain, behavior, and prostate glands of fetuses, infants, and children.
In addition to the chemical risks, plastic bottles may release tiny particles of plastic called micro-plastics (plastic that is less than five millimeters in length or the size of a sesame seed). As discussed earlier, microplastics are very harmful to marine life as they can be ingested over time by fish through ocean water. As micro-plastics erode over time, they eventually become nano-plastics, or plastics that measure less than 100 billionths of a meter, an invisible danger. The problem is that the fragments are so small that they can penetrate cells, organs, and tissues. Scientists are working on ways to understand the actual impact this may have on human health.
A good rule of thumb for living a long and healthy life is to minimize health risks, with plastic water bottles being easily swapped out for reusable water bottles.
Reason 3: You’ll save a lot of money
Despite living in New York City—which has some of the highest-quality drinking water—I would consume almost all of my water from single-use plastic water bottles. I was spending upwards of $10 a day on fancy bottled water. Daily, $10 did not seem like a lot of money, but when I looked back and realized that it added up to $3,650 a year, I was financially motivated to find another solution.
What about the average American? Earth Day says, “Americans buy 167 disposable plastic water bottles, costing $266 annually. With our average lifespan soaring to 80 years old, you could theoretically save $17,290 with a reusable water bottle.”
Water companies also have one of the most extreme price markups in any industry. Some water is sold at 10,000 times the cost. To put this in perspective, imagine if you owned a restaurant and your expenses (materials + labor) to produce a hamburger were USD 3. This would be like selling that hamburger for $30,000. When you buy a bottle of water, you’re encouraging these companies to continue to hyper-profit at the expense of our oceans and health. These are expensive water bottle issues.
Reason 4: Plastic bottles can take 1,000 years to decompose
Yes, we said 1,000 years! How long does it usually take you to drink an entire water bottle? If you told me a whole day, that sounds like a slow pace to drink water. Most of you probably finish your water bottle in less than an hour. The point isn’t whether you take a full day or just an hour to drink your plastic water bottle; it will take most plastic bottles anywhere from 450 to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Bottles made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) will never biodegrade. The plastic water bottle you casually consume will remain part of our planet’s ecosystem for generations.
Reason 5: There are several alternatives to plastic water bottles
If reasons 1 through 4 weren’t enough to convince you to stop buying and drinking from plastic water bottles, hopefully, reason five will do the trick.
There are so many beautiful, colorful reusable water bottles that you can find the perfect one that suits you. Many reusable bottles are BPA-free so that you won’t ingest any BPA from your bottle. You won’t have to worry about consuming micro-plastics if you buy a stainless steel bottle. And think about how many marine animals you’ll be saving. The best way to prevent plastic buildup in our oceans is to recycle plastic water bottles and avoid putting other bottles in the recycle bin altogether.
While a nice, reusable water bottle might seem expensive for just a “water bottle,” after using it daily for a month, you’ll be more than ahead in savings for the rest of the year. Your year will be delicious, BPA-free, micro-plastic-free, and guilt-free. Based on my previous water drinking habits, having a reusable plastic water bottle has saved me thousands of dollars a year. I can use this money to fund my travels around the world. What would you do with an extra $1,000 a year?
We would love to hear your thoughts. Are you currently drinking from a reusable water bottle? If so, which one? What are some other water bottle issues that we need to consider? Let us know in the comments.
And if you’re looking for inspiration and reviews on reusable water bottles, check out our Top 5 reviews!