There are definitely more than 5 water bottle issues that are reasons to stop buying them and drinking from them, but we are hoping that these fives reasons will convince you to make the switch to reusable water bottles.
First, let’s understand how much water you’re supposed to consume daily to realize how much plastic you’d be using 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 source of water comes from plastic bottles, it’s time to consider switching to insulated water bottles as you’re consuming a lot of single-use plastic. Currently, humans are estimated to be buying over one million plastic bottles every minute. One minute! One million! These are some serious water bottle usage issues.
As a hardcore traveler (I’ve been to over 20 countries in the last 2 years), the convenience of buying plastic water bottles on-the-go is very tempting, but 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 to yourself, “but don’t you put all of your plastic bottles into the recycling bin as I do?” It’s really not making as much of a difference as you think. Over 90% of these plastic bottles are never recycled and many of them end up being dumped right into the ocean.
We’re at a critical point in time and we 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. Today, this has increased to 43 kilograms (about 95 pounds), and this number 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 our future generations to clean up.
Now that we understand how much plastic we’re using, let’s now discuss the top 5 reasons why you should stop buying plastic water bottles.
Reason 1: Plastic is killing marine life
Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean. By 2050, the amount of 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 get worse. The good news is that we can solve this problem if we minimize 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 micro-plastics build up over time within their bodies. This needs to end and I am thankful there are a number of 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 it’s 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 talk about exactly what it is first. BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It’s a chemical that has been used to create plastic such as water bottles used for the last 60 or so years. 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 BPA, at low levels, is safe. But what happens if plastic water bottles are your primary source of water? Over a lifetime, research shows it could be dangerous and 93% of water bottles contain micro-plastics.
Additional research has shown that BPA can negatively affect your health in a number of ways such as fertility problems, male impotence, heart disease, and high blood pressure. It can even affect the brain, behavior, and the prostate glands of fetuses, infants, and children.
In addition to the chemical risks, plastic bottles may also release tiny particles of plastic which are called micro-plastics (plastic that is less than five millimeters in length or the size of a sesame seed). As discussed early, micro-plastics are very harmful to marine life as they can be ingested over time by fish through ocean water. As micro-plastics further erode over time, they eventually become what’s called nano-plastics, or plastics that measure less than 100 billionths of a meter, an invisible danger. The problem here is that the fragments are so small, 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 to living a long and healthy life is to minimize health risks with plastic water bottles being easily swapped out for a reusable water bottle.
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? According to Earth Day “the average American buys an average of 167 disposable plastic water bottles, costing $266, a year. With our average lifespan soaring to 80 years old, you could theoretically save $17,290 in your life 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 costs (materials + labor) to produce a hamburger was $3 USD. 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 normally take you to drink an entire bottle of water? If you said an entire day, that sounds like a slow pace to drink water. Most of you probably finish your bottle of water 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’s that it will take most plastic bottles anywhere from 450 to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Bottles that are made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) will never biodegrade. The plastic water bottle that you casually consumed will remain part of our planet’s ecosystem for generations to come.
Reason 5: There are a number of 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 5 will do the trick.
There are so many types of beautiful, colorful reusable water bottles that you can find the perfect one that suits you. Many reusable bottles are BPA-free so you won’t ingest any BPA from your bottle. If you buy a stainless steel bottle, you won’t have to worry about ingesting micro-plastics either. And think about how many marine animals you’ll be saving. The best way to prevent plastic buildup in our oceans isn’t to recycle plastic water bottles but to avoid putting another bottle 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 some inspiration and reviews on some reusable water bottles, check out our Top 5 reusable water bottle reviews!