Drinking bottled water has practically become a way of life or the lifestyle of many Americans today. Research has shown that in 2017 alone, Americans consumed up to 13.7 billion gallons of bottled water. This is much more than any other well-loved beverage that Americans love by volume. This massive consumption of bottled water ended up boosting an industry that is estimated to be worth approximately $18.5 billion.
More than 67.3 percent of bottled water that is sold in the United States come in single-serve plastic bottles. And the depressing fact is that up to 70 percent of these plastic water bottles are never recycled. On a global scale, approximately 200,000 plastic bottles are purchased every second, and the majority of these contain drinking water.
Many people are generally skeptical of tap water, and they assume that it is not as safe as drinking bottled water. Some Americans even refuse to take tap water just because they do not like the taste.
But thanks to the Safe Water Drinking Act, almost all public tap water is relatively safe for consumption or drinking. Before delving into what happens when you stop using bottled water, let's take a look at the impact of plastic bottles on the environment.
The impact of plastic bottles on our environment is alarming. For every 6 plastic bottles that Americans buy, only 1 is recycled, and this has resulted in a big problem: plastic water bottles don’t biodegrade but photo-degrade.
What does that mean? It means that it will take up to 1,000 years (minimum) for each plastic bottle to decompose. And the eventual leak of the pollutants into the soil and water will ruin the environment.
More than 60 million plastic water bottles are discarded in one day in the United States alone. And landfills in the United States have started overflowing with over 2 million tons of disposed of plastic water bottles.
Plastics are generally produced with high amounts of fossil fuels, and this makes them environmental hazards as well as an extraordinary waste of invaluable resources. And they also float on oceans (up to 46,000 pieces per square mile), rivers as well as sidewalks.
There has been a slow but considerably turn away from the use of plastic bottles and materials. This is due to the heavy awareness of the negative impact of plastic bottles on the environment.
So, what happens when you stop using bottled water? Well, a lot may not really happen to you physically, but you will start noticing a few things:
Spending a few bucks on bottled water doesn't seem like a considerable investment. Perhaps, you have already convinced yourself that you are paying for the convenience that plastic bottled water offers you, especially if you left your water bottle at home or went on an unplanned hike.
A company known as CovergEx Group carried out a survey in which the cost of plastic bottled water was compared to tap water. It was discovered that Americans spend up to 300 times more on plastic bottled water than they usually would have spent on the same amount of tap water. Bear in mind that the survey was based primarily on the price of purchasing water by the gallon.
It may be much more cost-effective, therefore, to just get home to pick up your reusable water bottle instead of purchasing plastic bottled water.
The impact of plastic pollution on the environment has been emphasized earlier in this article.
The life span of plastic is up to a thousand years long. This implies that every plastic bottle you have ever thrown into the recycle bin or garbage still exists today and they keep piling up every day.
Back in 2008, volunteers participated in a program known as ‘Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup,’ and it was recorded that an alarming 189 million plastic water bottles had been discarded around the country.
When you stop using plastic bottled water, you will no longer be adding to the massive pollution caused by plastics.
Most labels on plastic bottled water may depict a peaceful spring or mountain stream. But it does not indicate that the water inside is pristine and pure. The funny thing is that 25 percent of plastic bottled water is sourced from – you guessed right – the tap. It is only radiated or filtered before being bottled and sold at a considerable price markup.
Furthermore, traces of arsenic, phthalates, and mold have been found in plastic bottled water in recent years.
It may be true that bottled water companies are increasingly using BPA-free plastic. But the truth is that other toxic chemicals are present in those plastic bottles. And they can easily leach into that bottled water if left to sit for too long or exposed to heat for extended periods.
Some of these chemicals may be endocrine disrupters that could easily mess with the hormone levels in your body.