Fresh water, a crucial necessity of life. Simple. Bottled fresh water, a glamorous idealistic hyper-destructive source global degradation. Globally we consume a million plastic bottles a minute, more then 480 billion a year. That is a damn large amount of plastic and that is a damn large amount of money to pay for something that is almost free (in most developed countries). Globally, our obsession with plastic bottled water is having a massive tole on our ecosystem, contributing mass amounts of plastic pollution to oceans, creating huge environmental impact. Even in places where efficient recycling practices are in order, they are being over burdened with a product that does not have to be there.
In recent blog posts I have talked about plastic as a general problem to our oceans and a major cause for ecosystem degradation and plastic one-use water bottles a major contributor. Surprisingly it isn't even entirely North America's fault; Asian Pacific countries like China, Thailand, and the Philippines are adopting North American fast-paced and quick-use cultures which are responsible for upwards of 60% of the plastic being dumped in the ocean. I am not saying North America doesn't have a lot to do with the problem but with large population countries like China we are seeing a shift in contribution. China has recently put a ban on importing of foreign garbage and recyclables, not explicitly stated, I would argue partly due to their own overwhelming production. Having a quickly changing culture to a one-use and dump creates a lot more garbage and the need for a more efficient way to deal with the excess garbage. Industry is always slower to change compared to consumer demand so having an exponentially larger amount of garbage being produced industry could not handle it as well as foreign. But what are the solutions?
Stop using plastic. Sure, in an ideal world everyone globally would stop using as much or all plastic but that isn't going to happen. More realistic, cut back on the unneeded plastic like packaged water. Unless there is a crisis and no other immediate solution, plastic bottled water is just so redundant I just can't even comprehend it. Go and grab a cool reusable water bottle, many companies that produce them do much more then produce reusable water bottles!
Once you have your slick new reusable water bottle there are some really handy apps that give you a map of your city to let you know where you can fill up for free! Tapit, Water 2.0, Reefill, and Refill (UK) are just 5 of the many other apps that help people find refilling stations around their city to top up water bottles. There are so many options and helping hands in our day-to-day to stop us from using plastic one use water bottles, Now more then ever we need to really think about our plastic waste consumption and ways we can reduce it. If we all, globally, work together we can steer our planet back to equilibrium and a space not filled with so much garbage.
Thank you for reading and have a great one!