How to Ditch Bottled Water in 2016: An Action Plan
By now, we’re all well versed on the environmental disaster that is the single-use plastic water bottle. If you need a quick refresher, pass your eyeballs over these alarming facts and figures:
- As a species, we drink more than $100 billion in bottled water every year. That’s about 50 billion bottles, 30 billion of which are consumed right here in the US (where we also have some of the safest tap water in the world).
- That means some 17 million barrels of oil are used every year to produce those single-use plastic water bottles we use and toss.
- Even worse, it takes three times the amount of water to produce the bottle than it does to fill the bottle.
- And worse still, more than 80% of those bottles end up in the landfill, on the side of the road and in our waterways.
Something has to change, and the best place to start is with yourself. Wondering where to begin? Try this five-step action plan now, and become part of the solution.
- Buy yourself a reusable water bottle (BPA-free if you’re going plastic). And then take it with you every time you leave the house. It might take some practice, but soon it’ll be as automatic as grabbing your wallet and phone.
- Stop with the disposable plastic water bottles. Don’t buy them, and definitely don’t reuse them. They’re designed for a single use, and using them over and over may cause them to leach chemicals you don’t want in your body. If you have to buy bottled water, check the label first. If the words “municipal source” or “community water system” are on there, you’re about to pay for a bottle of tap water. Make sure to buy water that comes from protected sources.
- Get educated on your local tap water. Call the company on your water bill and ask for an overview on the water quality in your town. You’re in luck – all tap water suppliers have to provide annual water quality reports to customers, so you might check their website too.
- Once you know what’s in your local water, get a filter to remove contaminants. Here’s a Consumer Guide to Water Filters to help you make the right choice.
- Support local initiatives to ban bottled water, and take pledges like Take Back the Tap and CamelBak’s Ditch Disposable, two campaigns that are designed to spread awareness about the real costs – environmentally and otherwise – of bottled water.