plenty of water bottles

What Plastic Are Water Bottles Made Of?

Plastic water bottles are now understood to be bad for the environment. That said, not many people know the exact reason why.

Water companies put a lot of effort into their packaging, but they also aim to save money. This is why plastic water bottles have become the norm. However, the material they use to make these bottles is what’s causing the most damage to the environment.

So, what plastic are water bottles made of? How is this plastic harmful to the environment? Keep reading to find out.

What Plastic Are Water Bottles Made Of?

Plastic water bottles are primarily made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. They also contain polycarbonate (PC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics.

PET is the #1 recycling code at the bottom of your water bottle. The use of PET has reduced in the past few years – in fact, bottles are made with less PET than they used to be, which has saved billions of pounds of PET since 2014. Moreover, of all the different types of plastics made in the US, only 0.92 percent is PET plastic bottled water packaging.

Nonetheless, PET makes up 10.2 percent of global plastic production. While this means that PET is far from being the most produced plastic, it is still a significant amount.

This number means that water bottles are one of many products made from PET. Although we’ve reduced the use of PET in the packaging of products over the past few years, it’s still prevalent in packaging for certain foods you’ll find in your grocery store. Here is a list of just a few other products that are made from PET:

  • Mouthwash bottles
  • Peanut butter containers
  • Vegetable oil containers
  • Salad dressing

The good thing about PET is that it is indeed 100% recyclable. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for the environment. Let’s take a look at why that is.

Why Is PET Bad for the Environment?

In general, plastic is not good for the environment, and PET is no exception. Because PET doesn’t readily break down, it contributes to plastic pollution.

Instead of breaking down entirely, PET breaks down into tiny microplastics. These microplastics have become abundant in our oceans and drinking water.

This means that we may end up consuming them through drinking water or eating seafood since fish of all sizes end up consuming microplastics as well. Based on the food chain, humans consume the most microplastics out of all organisms.

PET is also bad for the environment as it increases our water footprint. Our water footprints aren’t only measured by the water we use. It’s also measured by the water used to create the products we consume.

This means that when you buy and drink from a water bottle, you must also consider the water consumed in extracting, refining, and manufacturing oil and natural gas required to produce PET.

Now that you know what plastic water bottles are made of and why they’re bad for the environment, let’s talk about what you can do to minimize your PET consumption.

How You Can Reduce PET Use

While PET plastic is not as widely used as it was 30 years ago, it is still used to package many products, including water bottles. This makes it easy to over-consume PET without realizing it.

Remaining mindful of your PET consumption is the best way to ensure that you are not consuming more plastic than you need to be. But you can take several other actions to reduce your PET use.

Refuse single-use plastic

Many countries, such as Canada, have started banning single-use plastic. However, for the countries that haven’t made those moves yet, such as the United States, you have to actively say no. Single-use plastics that pay contain PET include:

  • Water and soda bottles
  • Straws
  • To-go cups
  • Plastic cutlery

Instead, try to bring your own reusable water bottle wherever you go so that you can refill it. There are also an abundance of reusable and compostable straws, cutlery, and to-go cups available on the market now.

women recycling water bottles

Reuse your PET bottles

If you find yourself in a pinch and need to purchase a plastic water bottle, consider not throwing it away after a single use.

Instead, reuse your water bottles as many times as possible. The good thing about many plastic water bottles is that they are robust enough for several uses. You can even keep them in your car (ensure they’re away from the sun and heat) in case of emergency. Plus, this will save you money as you won’t always have to purchase a new water bottle!

Recycle your PET bottles

Finally, if you do need to buy a plastic water bottle and dispose of it, make sure to recycle it.

PET plastic water bottles are 100% recyclable. Better yet, PET plastic can be recycled many times. Recycled PET is often used in products such as furniture, tote bags, and carpets.

All recycling programs in the United States and Canada accept PET plastics, so you have no excuse not to recycle!

Conclusion: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle PET Plastic

To recap, water bottles are mostly made of PET plastic. While PET plastic is 100% recyclable, it still harms the environment.

The best solution is to minimize your use of PET plastic water bottles and opt for a reusable water bottle, like stainless steel or aluminum water bottles. If you choose to use PET plastic bottles, try to reuse them as much as possible, then recycle them when you’re done.

If you’re looking to reduce your impact on the environment and eliminate plastic water bottle use at your next event, contact Quench Buggy to ask about our environmentally friendly water refill stations.