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Repeat after me… I’ll never use another water bottle

November 16 2007 | Jim's Blog,
by Jim

Much of life is a gray area. We learn politically correct lingo, to straddle the fence and not take a stand. Etc. Few things in life are black and white. But for me... there ARE a few.

Something becomes black and white when, after I've educated myself as much as I can, I can no longer live/act the same as I did prior. Plastic water bottles fall into this category for me. Of course plastic water bottles aren’t the only culprit, I’m simply trying point out a very popular culprit. For me, all single-use plastic is in this same category.

To be blunt, I see plastic water bottles as… wrong. I'm suggesting you give up using plastic water bottles..

I've "flipped a bit" (tech speak for moving from one category to the other) on this one. I understand that people are buying convenience as much as the water. But that convenience has a price larger than we may have signed up for.

“Bottled water is often simply an indulgence, and despite the stories we tell ourselves, it is not a benign indulgence. We're moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone. That's a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water.” – Fast Company

Some facts on those ubiquitous plastic water bottles…

- North American’s spent $15,000,000,000 on water in plastic bottles last year ($46,000,000,000 spent globally)

- Tap water is, many times, quite good. San Francisco’s water comes from inside Yosemite, it's so good the EPA doesn't require San Francisco to filter it

- Bottled water has massive hidden costs; think about the process to enable a New Yorker to drink water from Fiji

- Americans consumed 50 billion plastic water bottles last year, 167 for each person, made of totally recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. Recycling rate for PET is 23%, which means we pitch into landfills 38 billion water bottles a year--more than $1 billion worth of plastic

- Every piece of (petroleum-based) plastic ever manufactured still exists

- Plastic in the ocean may be one of the most alarming of today's environmental stories. Plastics, like diamonds, are forever because plastics do NOT biodegrade, no naturally occurring organisms can break these polymers down

- Over 300,000 pieces of plastic per square mile have been found in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. Eighty percent of the plastic comes from land-based sources

- 100,000 marine mammals and 2 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being caught in marine debris

- Plastic is the most common type of marine litter world-wide

- Globally, the proportion of plastic among marine debris world-wide ranges from 60 to 80%, although it has reached over 90–95% in some areas

- Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris

- Etc

And for you visual learners…

Synthetic Sea

- Sigg aluminum bottle
- Other bottles

Now, repeat after me “I will never use another plastic water bottle again”.

Sources: Plastic Debris Worldwide, Fast Company, Algalita, DWRF/NRDC, New York Times
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