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Why Are Plastic Water Bottles Bad?

Plastic water bottles are universally known to be bad for the environment, but we continue to use them. Part of the reason for this is that not everyone understands exactly why plastic water bottles are bad and their impact on animals, plants, and even humans.

If you’ve ever wondered why plastic water bottles are bad, you’ve come to the right place to find the answer. Keep reading to learn about the negative environmental impact of plastic water bottles and how to reduce that impact.

Why Are Plastic Water Bottles Bad?

Let’s jump right into it: Why are plastic water bottles bad?

First, you must know that most water bottles today are made primarily from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic. PET plastic can be identified by code #1 at the bottom of your water bottles.

PET isn’t actually the worst type of plastic. Polycarbonate BPA bottles are known to have a more adverse impact and are banned for many uses in certain countries, such as baby products in Canada.

PET is 100% recyclable. That said, it doesn’t break down entirely and instead forms microplastics. These microplastic particles end up in our oceans and are consumed by aquatic life. From there, these plastic particles end up in human bodies through seafood consumption.

However, microplastics are just the tip of the iceberg. There are several other reasons why plastic water bottles are bad. Let’s take a look at a few.

The plastic in bottled water may have harmful chemicals.

As mentioned, plastic water bottles have chemicals. These chemicals can easily leach into the water in the bottle. When we consume this water, we consume these chemicals, which may harm the human body.

For example, BPA has been known as an endocrine disruptor, disrupting hormones and having a carcinogenic effect on the body. This is why many reusable water bottles promote the fact that they are BPA-free. However, many single-use water bottles still contain BPA, so it’s important to stay mindful of that.

hand holding fresh water bottle

Plastic water bottles take a long time to decompose.

Did you know that plastic can take up to 450 years to decompose? This means that the remnants of a plastic water bottle that you discard today could be found by future generations centuries from now.

When plastic waste breaks down, it releases harmful chemicals and toxins into the earth. As a result, these chemicals seep into the soil and pollute the groundwater we use for everyday living, resulting in us consuming these toxic chemicals. When you think of the amount of plastic used every day, this has quite a significant impact on the planet.

A lot of water goes into making plastic water bottles.

It isn’t just the water inside plastic water bottles that we should worry about. A lot of water goes into the process of producing plastic water bottles. In fact, it often takes more water to produce a disposable plastic bottle than the bottle’s capacity. As a result, using plastic water bottles increases your water footprint more than you may think.

What’s more, plastic bottles also have a significant carbon footprint. Their products release a large amount of carbon dioxide into the air, negatively affecting carbon levels in the atmosphere. This happens through both manufacturing and transportation.

You can’t reuse plastic water bottles as much.

While it’s a good idea to reuse plastic water bottles as much as possible, it’s important to note that there is a limit to how many times you can reuse a bottle. There are several reasons for this.

To start, plastic water bottles are typically made with less plastic today than they used to be. While this is partly good news, it’s resulted in a lot of flimsier and weaker bottles that don’t stand up to several uses. As a result, they tend to break soon and can potentially cause injury.

Beyond that, there’s also the previously discussed issue of harmful chemical leakage. The more you use and manipulate a plastic water bottle, the more likely chemicals are to seep into your water over time.

Now that you know why plastic water bottles are bad, let’s discuss what you can do to reduce their impact.

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How to Reduce the Impact of Plastic Water Bottles

While plastic water bottle use is still a prevalent problem globally, we have a few solutions to minimize the impact.

Here are some ways to reduce the impact of plastic water bottles on the environment and the human body:

  • Opt for a reusable stainless steel water bottle when possible. Water refill stations and water fountains are abundant these days, so you’ll likely find somewhere to refill your drinking water throughout the day.
  • If you do use plastic water bottles, dispose of them properly through a recycling program. Most recycling programs accept most types of plastic.
  • If you’re drinking from a plastic water bottle, try to keep the bottle away from the heat so as not to speed up any chemical leaching into your water.

Finally, water bottles are one of many problems when it comes to the overconsumption of plastic. It’s important to stay mindful of plastic consumption beyond your disposable plastic water bottle. Try to reduce the number of these plastic items you use:

  • Straws
  • Bags
  • Bottle caps
  • Cutlery
  • Food packaging
  • Containers

There are more sustainable alternatives to each of these products, which will help reduce both your carbon and your water footprint.

Replace Plastic Water Bottle Use in Your Life

The main takeaway is to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles you use. There are many different alternatives to take advantage of that make doing this easy.

Hopefully, you now know why plastic bottles are bad and know what you can do to reduce their impact.

If you want to reduce plastic water bottle consumption at your next event, contact Quench Buggy to explore your options.