You’ve probably seen more people carrying around reusable water bottles during the last few years. These bottles are made of glass, metal, or sturdy plastic, making them more durable—and thus reusable—than your typical disposable water bottle. However, reusable water bottles aren’t just a fashion trend; they’re a conscious move toward more sustainable living.
Reusable water bottles are sustainable because they reduce
- the plastic waste created by disposable water bottles;1
- the demand for the oil used to make the plastic for disposable bottles;1
- the demand for the fuel used to transport bottles from manufacturer to consumer.1, 2
Less than 25% of plastic water bottles is recycled, meaning that more than 75% ends up in landfills or as litter. Since plastic water bottles in landfills aren’t exposed to sunlight, which normally helps break down plastics, some estimate that it may take thousands of years for disposable water bottles to decompose.1
While some people prefer the taste of bottled water to that of tap water, one has to wonder whether taste is worth the fuel and resources that go into transporting water hundreds or even thousands of miles to the consumer. And, if you’re worried about safety, keep in mind that tap water is regulated more stringently than bottled water is.1
Reusuable water bottles are also more economically sustainable because tap water is considerably less expensive than bottled water. If taste is an issue, try filtering tap water at home with a pitcher or faucet system and bringing it with you in your reusable water bottle.3 You’ll look hip while doing it!
- Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA protection for Tap Water, GAO-09-610, United States Government Accountability Office, 2009, http://www.gao.gov/assets/300/291465.pdf
- “Drinking Water: A Comparison of Bottled and Tap Water Using Life Cycle Analysis,” Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, n.d., http://www.deq.state.or.us/lq/sw/wasteprevention/dwfaqresults.htm
- Leila M. Kalley and Karla P. Shelnutt, Facts about Bottled Water, FCS8887, Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 2013, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1138
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