The dangers of climate change are very real. They are already being felt in certain parts of the world.
Glaciers and other long-standing ice formations are starting to melt and erode. Severe weather systems are impacting different nations at unexpected times. Plants and animals are also suffering due to the harsh effects of man-made climate change.
There are numerous factors that contribute to climate change. Even the products we use on a daily basis are widely regarded as harmful to the environment. That plastic water bottle you purchase every day from the grocery or convenience store may not seem like it can make much of an impact, but when you take a closer look at it, you’ll understand why avoiding it for good is the right move.
In order to gain a better grasp on the adverse impact plastic bottles are having on the environment, please check out the facts below.
A Staggering Amount of Plastic Bottles Are Used Every Minute
Let’s start by trying to understand just how prevalent plastic bottle usage is. Per this article from National Geographic, in excess of 1 million plastic bottles are sold around the world every minute. That comes out to 60 million plastic bottles sold every hour and a mind-boggling 1.4 billion plastic bottles sold every single day. The numbers are obviously difficult to comprehend, but in a way, they are also unsurprising.
We like things offered in convenient and portable packages and those two adjectives describe the plastic water bottle really well. It’s no wonder that plastic bottles are seemingly scattered everywhere because the reality is that they are incredibly popular staples of everyday life.
Plastic Bottles Take Hundreds of Years to Completely Decompose
Not everyone recycles and because of that, many used plastic bottles end up discarded on the streets, beaches, and just about everywhere really. Because of hygiene concerns, you will also find more than a few folks who object to reusing plastic bottles.
When too many plastic bottles are just discarded haphazardly, they can end up in places where they shouldn’t be. The world’s different oceans and waterways often end up as the final destinations for these plastic bottles that people no longer want.
It would be one thing if those used plastic bottles just rot and disappear after a week, or even a month. Sadly, we know that plastic bottles possess a way longer lifespan.
Via the Peace Corps, the average plastic bottle takes about 450 years to completely break down. Postconsumers notes that some plastic bottles require even more time to decompose as they can last for up to 1,000 years.
The main reason why many plastic bottles stick around for so long is because they are not susceptible to the process of biodegradation. Unlike with organic materials, bacteria do not seem to be that fond of munching down on plastics, per the Columbia Daily Tribune. The ultraviolet rays coming from the sun will have to take on the job of breaking down plastic and that, as we noted, takes many years.
When numerous plastic bottles reach the oceans, they will stay there for a long time unless they are manually removed.
Using Bottled Water Is a Costly Habit
Producing and consuming bottled water is costly, in more ways than one. It’s worth pointing out just how expensive it is to maintain a bottled water habit.
How Stuff Works performed a bit of basic math involving average prices for gas and bottled water and found that many of us end up paying way more for the latter. Their calculations indicate a gallon of bottled water costs about three times as much as a gallon of gas.
That’s just part of the reason why gas is so costly however.
Per this article from Harvard University, 17 million barrels of oil are required just to produce the amount of plastic bottles that Americans typically use over the course of a year. That’s a lot of gas going into the production of containers, and one can argue that it’s incredibly wasteful considering that tap water is readily available in most places.
Plastic Bottles Are Messing with Our Ecosystem
This article from the World Wildlife Fund indicates that at least 8 million tons of plastic reach the ocean annually. That is terrible news for our planet in many ways.
First off, that much plastic covering the oceans means that plants and animals are having a hard time simply surviving because of the artificial blanket covering them. The plastics that cover the surface of the world’s oceans are also emitting more greenhouse gases. Those greenhouse gases are trapping more heat, thus leading to the planet getting warmer.
If more carbon starts to pool closer to the planet, you will start to see even more ice formations melting, water levels changing, and ecosystems being destroyed. The plastic bottle you use today will likely end up making the world a more hostile place to live in sometime in the not too distant future.
We all have to do our part to protect the planet and every little bit counts. By decreasing your reliance on plastic water bottles or getting a reusable bottle, you can have a positive impact on the planet.