plastic bottles near ocean

Why Are Plastic Bottles Bad for the Environment?

By now, you know that many human tendencies and behaviors are bad for the environment. From pollution to carbon emissions, many habits contribute to the deterioration of our planet.

While many of these problems are caused by more extensive issues, one thing that may seem minor hurts the environment in a big way: plastic water bottles.

Why are plastic bottles bad for the environment? Keep reading to learn the answer, and find out what you can do to minimize your plastic use.

plastic water bottles pollution in ocean

Why Are Plastic Water Bottles Bad for the Environment?

Let’s jump right into it. Why are plastic water bottles bad for the environment?

There are several reasons why disposable plastic water bottles are hurting our environment and contributing to the decline of our planet. Some of the top reasons include:

  • Overconsumption of plastic
  • Pollution
  • Improper waste disposal

Let’s take a closer look at these reasons.


One of the main issues with plastic ruining the environment isn’t simply the existence of plastic but the amount of plastic we produce and consume.

Firstly, the Guardian has found that over one million plastic water bottles are sold every minute around the world, and this number dramatically increases every year. We consume so many water bottles because of our “on-the-go” culture that values convenience over anything. While it’s easy to buy a plastic water bottle while you’re at it, it comes at a much higher price for the environment.

Moreover, the Pacific Institute found that over 17 million barrels of oil are required to produce enough disposable plastic water bottles to meet America’s annual demand for bottled water. This is enough energy to fuel a million cars and trucks for a year.

Therefore, it isn’t just the plastic that pollutes the environment. The process starts as the plastic is being produced. Considering how much plastic Americans alone consume, reducing this consumption globally would do wonders for the environment.

Unsustainably Made

As mentioned, plastic water bottles are made from petroleum-based, non-renewable polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This substance is used for various other plastic products, such as clothing and automotive parts.

Since PET is non-renewable, the oil must be drilled out of the ground to make the substance. As a result, this harms the ecosystems near where this oil is found. It can also produce various other adverse effects, such as forest fires and oil spills.

Finally, the process of making plastic emits a significant amount of CO2, with the factories making the plastic running on fossil fuels. The result of this is that it significantly contributes to global warming.

The risks associated with producing plastic are high throughout the process. We’re harming the environment with every new batch of plastic we produce.

Improper Disposal and Pollution

We’ve talked about the production of plastic and the overconsumption of it, but one of the worst effects of plastic bottles on the environment is their improper disposal and pollution.

Most of the world’s plastic ends up in the trash. In fact, 91% of the world’s plastic is never taken to a recycling center. The rest ends up in either landfills or elsewhere in the environment.

Whether plastic ends up in a landfill or the environment, it leaches out toxins that pollute the earth around it. In a landfill, these toxins leak out and make their way to bodies of water, including the water we would potentially drink.

Plastic in the ocean comes with an additional risk of being ingested by marine life and potentially finding its way into the human body through consumption through the food chain.

What’s worse is the amount of time plastic takes to break down – 450 years into microplastics and 1000 years to break down fully. At the rate that plastic is being produced, used, and improperly disposed of, the planet isn’t able to keep up.

Now that you know why plastic bottles are bad for the environment, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

man with plastic bottle in hand

Plastic Bottles Are Bad – So What Can You Do?

The effects of plastic bottles are forever, so the best way to eradicate their impact is to avoid using plastic bottles at all.

One of the best ways to do this is by swapping plastic water bottles for a 100% stainless steel BPA-free reusable water bottle. These water bottles come with a variety of benefits. In addition to being more sustainable, they are long-lasting and even keep your water at an optimal cold for hours.

Make sure you bring your stainless steel water bottle wherever you go. You may even find water refill stations at certain event venues that allow you to refill your water as needed!

If you continue to use plastic bottles, you want to make sure to dispose of them properly. Make sure to recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash. Better yet, reuse them as much as possible to avoid buying new plastic bottles and overconsuming them.

What’s more, although we put a lot of the blame on plastic bottles, it’s all types of plastic waste that are harming the environment. We should try to minimize overall plastic use to combat plastic’s adverse effects.

Other common plastic products to watch out for include:

  • Bottle caps
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic packaging
  • Food wrappers
  • Plastic straws

Stay mindful of your plastic consumption to help minimize plastic’s effects on the environment.

women opening plastic water bottle

Save the Environment One Single-Use Plastic Bottle At a Time

You now know why plastic bottles are bad for the environment, so the question is what you’re going to do about it. A gesture as simple as using a stainless steel reusable water bottle can make all the difference.

If you’re planning an event yourself, you may want to consider renting or investing in a drinking water trailer instead of selling plastic water bottles. Contact Quench Buggy today to explore your options.