Plastic Water Bottles

by Kira Weiner

The Facts:

·      60 billion single-use drink containers were purchased in 2006, and 3 our of 4 were thrown out directly after use (Container Recycling Institute)

  • The average American used 167 disposable water bottles, but only recycled 38 (Fast Company Magazine, 2007)
  • Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year (Pacific Institute, 2007)
  • Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year (Fast Company Magazine, 2007)

The Problems:

  • Plastic bottles (along with plastic bags) are the most prevalent sources of pollution found on beaches (Ocean Conservency)

·      10% of the plastic produced every year worldwide winds up in the ocean, 70% of which finds its way to the ocean floor, where it will likely never degrade (UN, 2006)

·      Every square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it (UN, 2006)

  • Plastic trash absorbs pre-existing organic pollutants, including Bisphenol A (BPA) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

The Solutions:

  • Each reusable, BPA-free bottle can eliminate hundreds of disposable bottles
  • If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, try a filtered water pitcher
  • Many places such as San Francisco are starting to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, hoping to move towards more sustainable means of consumption

Facts collected from: and


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