Boy oh boy, plastic water bottles. Where do I begin?
The US alone consumes 1,500 plastic water bottles every second and 38 billion end up in a landfill every year. Globally, humans buy 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute.Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Now, let's talk economics. Bottled water costs 1,000 times more than tap water. In fact, 90% of the cost is for the bottle. In other words, when we purchase bottled water, we are basically just paying for a plastic bottle. Families could save hundreds of dollars every year by drinking filtered tap water instead.
But the reason we're all here is for the environmental impact and trust me when I tell you, it's not pretty. You may start to notice a little repetition here, but plastic never decomposes. It only breaks down into little bitty baby micro- and nanoplastics that have infiltrated nearly every aspect of life on earth. Plastic particles have been found at the bottom of the sea, in our soil, and in the air we breath . According to one study, "up to 300 million plastic bottles' worth of plastic particles per year landed on 11 remote protected areas in the West." Like I said... everywhere.
On a more personal level, studies have shown that plastic leeches toxins into the water, which has been linked to various health problems including cancer and reproductive issues. As someone who is currently trying to start a family, I found this more than a little horrifying.
What can I use instead?
There are hundreds of reusable water bottle options out there and you might already own one that has been hiding in the pantry. If you don't have one, consider upcycling a glass jar or screw top bottle. You do not need to spend any money to make a difference. Of course, if you are set on buying a bottle to jumpstart this new habit, you can read my pros and cons for each material. And if you really want to keep a stash of disposable water bottles, you can switch to canned water!
Is tap water safe to drink?
According to the CDC, all public water systems in the United States are required to follow the standards and regulations set by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Federal law requires that systems reduce certain contaminants to set levels in order to protect human health. So, yes, most tap water in the US is safe to drink, but you can be extra sure by using a water filter.
What about the case of water I just bought?
Definitely drink what you've got and recycle or upcycle the bottles. Or, consider donating them to a homeless shelter, since not everyone is lucky enough to have access to running water.