Plastic is a growing problem.
Plastic bottle waste is a global problem that is growing every year. In 2006 the world collectively produced 300 billion plastic water bottles. In 2016 that number grew to 480 billion. A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will rise another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis. The destruction of oceans, nature and wildlife affects human health directly. Not only are we destroying our own habitat, but we are also damaging our health by consuming tiny plastic particles through seafood and sea salt every day. Imagine if it's bad now, how bad will it be 5 years from now?
A simple change can make a big difference. Say NO to single use plastic bottles. The tap water in the Nordic countries ranks the best in the world and is of higher quality than the water sold in plastic bottles. If you live in a country where the tap water isn't quite as good, a simple filtering system (BRITA) can improve it. If you need to consume water from a plastic bottle, it's better to buy a large bottle and refill a reusable water bottle from it, than to buy several small plastic bottles. And please don't forget to recycle.
When choosing a reusable bottle, stainless steel is a much better option than plastic bottles. Several studies show that reusable plastic bottles (for example sports bottles) start leaching harmful substances such as hormone disruptors and other toxins into the drinking water when they are frequently used and cleaned. So, when you need water on the go, invest in a reusable and refillable water bottle that is built to last. It will repay itself very quickly.
The Plastic bottle journey.
The plastic bottle journey starts at the oilfield where oil is extracted and then transported to a refinery where it is cleaned. It is then transported to a plastic factory where the plastic bottles are made. The plastic bottles are transported to the bottling plant where they are filled, before being transported (yet again) to the store. The bottles are then transported from the store to the house. From the house they are either thrown into the trash or transported back to the store for recycling. The recycled bottles are then transported back and forth between plant, store and the consumer, until their lifespan times out. At that point they are transported to a plant that turns them into another plastic item or they are discarded. How many trips on a truck is that?
Some countries have well-working plastic bottle recycling systems in place. However, while recycling is very helpful in curbing the amount of new plastic being produced, it sadly doesn't solve the plastic waste problem. Most people don't think about the fact that even recycled plastic bottles have a limited life span. The bottle may be used again as a bottle for some time and then it will either end up in landfill or it becomes another product made out of plastic, such as fleece, carpet etc. And each time you wash that warm and soft fleece sweater, small plastic particles are flushed into the ocean. Eventually these items also end up in the trash with the same end result, the plastic's path to landfill is just slightly longer.
In the world, fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles.