How Your Bottled Water Becomes Hazardous Waste

Environmental Blog

The average American drinks 167 disposable bottles of water each year. Bottled water has become a cornerstone of a trend of healthy living in the United States, and chances are that each time you finish a bottle, you feel like you've taken a step toward improved well-being. What you may not know is that plastic water bottles have a dark side. In this article learn why water bottles are hazardous to the environment, how they can hurt humans, and what you can do to protect yourself and the environment.

Why Water Bottles Are Hazardous to the Environment

In the United States alone, 1,500 bottles of water are consumed every second, and each of those bottles is disposable. That equates to two million tons of plastic water bottles in US landfills currently and only a small portion of those bottles are recyclable. Biodegradation of water bottles takes more than 1,000 years, and of the 167 bottles that Americans consume each year, only 38 are recycled.

The process of making water bottles also has a hazardous effect on the environment. Bottles are made of a petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and require vast amounts of fossil fuels to make and transport. In addition, each bottle is created using expensive and now imported oil. It takes 25% of the bottle's volume in oil to make one bottle. More than 17 billion barrels of oil are used each year to make water bottles—enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.

As if the amount of oil used isn't bad enough, for each gallon of water bottled, more than two gallons of water are used during the plastic-making process.

How Water Bottles Can Impact Your Health

Besides the vast amount of resources used to create a disposable item, water bottles can have a very hazardous effect on humans and animals. A chemical called Bisphenol-A (BPA) is used to make the plastic clear and hard. High levels of BPA have been linked to a greater risk of

  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems
  • Reduced fertility in women
  • Premature labor and birth defects

Antimony, which is found in PET, can cause dizziness and depression in small doses and nausea, vomiting, and death in larger doses.

Plastic bottles also contain phthalates, which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because the amounts present in bottles is so minute. However, that decision does not take into consideration how many bottles the average American consumes daily. Phthalates have been linked to problems with development and reproduction, including

  • Reduced sperm count
  • Testicular abnormalities and tumors
  • Gender development issues

In addition to compromised health due to BPA, antimony and phthalates, test samples of bottled water have also shown concerning amounts of carcinogens and microbial contaminates.

How You Can Make a Positive Impact

Your eight glasses of water a day cost you about $1,400 per year if you're buying bottled water. That same amount will cost you about 49 cents a year from your own kitchen faucet.

About 24% of bottled water sold in the United States comes from two brands—Pepsi's Aquafina and Coke's Dasani, which are both (you guessed it) bottled, purified tap water. Rather than spending hundreds of dollars a year on bottled water, buy a glass water bottle and a purifier for your tap.

If you do have to buy bottled water, do some research. Make sure you're buying recyclable bottles and that you know where to take them for recycling.

Bottled water is not only having a negative impact on your health, but it is destroying the planet. Two million tons of a bottle that weighs next to nothing is a lot of water bottles! Fortunately, plastic, disposable water bottles are not necessary and they're not even that much more convenient than buying your own glass or BPA-free plastic water bottle and filling it at home or work.

Do your part by purchasing a new water bottle and encouraging friends and family to do the same. Go shopping, drink up, stay healthy, and help the planet today! To learn more about hazardous waste recycling, contact a representative from a company like TransChem Environmental.


11 November 2015

propane for off the grid heating

I have always dreamed of living off of the grid. I didn't want my house connected to any utilities and I didn't want it anywhere that could be seen from the road. When I found this little lot for sale way out in the middle of the woods, I knew that I had found my future home. The one thing that I had to consider was how I would heat my home without any utility connections. The only solution to this problem was to have a propane tank delivered and use propane to heat my house. Find out about using propane to stay off the grid here on my blog.