Yes, this blog normally sticks to cheese, bread, slow food, urban farming, etc., but I have been thinking and reading about something that is worth a post. According to Bottled Water Blues, “Consumers typically buy bottled water under the misconception that it is safer, purer or healthier than tap water. Bottled water companies have spent billions to manipulate consumers into believing that bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water.”
According to the Huffington Post, approximately 40 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away in the United States every year. Fewer than 20% get recycled.
The more i read, the more it looks like the water bottles we are buying are a waste of money and are terrible for the environment. Watch this NBC video:
How many water bottles and plastic bags do you go through in a day, a week, or a year? Do you know where all of that plastic ends up?
One place appears to be the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a massive area, twice the size of Texas, in the Pacfic ocean, between California and Hawaii, that is full of slowly degrading plastics. According to wikipedia, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Eastern Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex, is a gyre of marine litter in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135° to 155°W and 35° to 42°N and estimated to be twice the size of Texas. The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastic and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre.”
Apparently, our addiction to plastics is getting the best of us. According to to How Stuff Works, “Plastic constitutes 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans. The United Nations Environment Program estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean hosts 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. In some areas, the amount of plastic outweighs the amount of plankton by a ratio of six to one. Of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic the world produces each year, about 10 percent ends up in the ocean. Seventy percent of that eventually sinks, damaging life on the ocean floor. The rest floats; much of it ends up in gyres and the massive garbage patches that form there, with some plastic eventually washing up on a distant shore.”
It seems to me that we have been using and disposing of plastics indiscriminately for years and years with no regard for what they are doing to the planet and how they will negatively affect our own health in the long term. It stands to reason, that the biodegradation of all of the plastic water bottles and plastic bags will lead to chemicals polluting the ocean and the earth and ending up back in our own food system.
So, what to do?
1. Stop using and disposing of plastic water bottles! Break the habit and tell others in your life to do the same. Get a filtration system at home and buy an aluminum water bottle to carry with you during the day. It’s important to use aluminum or something stable, like glass, as according to the latest science, plastic water bottles that we re0use may not be healthy. See this msnbc report.
2. Stop using platsic bags! Use re-usable canvas or other type of bags.
I am going to try to lessen my contribution to the 40 billion water bottles that are disposed of in the US each year. Are you?