Reusable water bottles are a brilliant idea that are at everyone’s disposal but are an amenity that most people have not yet utilized or don’t utilize enough. Plastic water bottles are still bought and consumed consistently by everyone, especially here at Union College. The book store is easily accessible for drinks, bottled water I imagine being one of the most frequent purchases considering the amount of times that I have seen the massive Saratoga water bottles busting out of student’s backpacks. While its easy and quick to buy bottled water, it’s truly an unnecessary purchase and frankly a waste of money.
According to a Huffington Post article about the detrimental affects of plastic water bottles, 1500 water bottles are consumed per second tallying up to 50 billion water bottles every year world wide. From those 50 billion, the United States consumes 30 meaning that we are largely at fault for most of the plastic pollutants that end up floating around in large bodies of water (every square mile of ocean has more than 46,000 pieces of plastic), littered bottles sitting on the side of the road and for the landfills dumped with plastic that should have been recycled. All plastic bottles are made of polyethylene and terephthalate which do not biodegrade but rather photodegrade meaning they disintegrate in small little fragments over the course of a very long time. It takes centuries for water bottles to get to those tiny fragments and when they do they release toxins. What’s more is that while recycling is an encouraged option, 80% of plastic bottles go into landfills meaning that rather than making use of the plastic by recycling it, the bottles sit for centuries in a hole polluting the environment. Our health is at risk too from drinking out of the plastic which in fact can cause reproductive issues and can lead to cancer considering that after only 10 weeks of shelf life, the chemicals from the bottles have leaked into the water. It is imperative to reuse water bottles, recycle and drink from the tap to preserve our future earth.
Check out the cleanliness of your tap water in your area on this website to assure yourself that it is clean!
I think it is interesting that so many students at Union continue to buy plastic water bottles despite the water stations placed all throughout campus. Your post proves that despite all the efforts to encourage the use of reusable water bottles, more often than not, people buy plastic bottles. It is also astonishing that the U.S. used plastic water bottles more than any other nation. Water bottles are not good for the environment and there needs to be a stronger push towards the use of reusable water bottles throughout the country.
I am interested in the fact that the United States is responsible for 60% of the plastic water bottle pollution worldwide. Do we think that there is a reason that the United States specifically has such an issue with this? Why are we so much worse than other countries in terms of plastic water bottle waste? What actions do you see that we can take to reduce our pollution on a national level? What actions do you see that we can take to reduce our plastic water bottle pollution on a Union College level?
I think most people are somewhat guilty of using too many plastic water bottles and discarding them. I for one own a nalgene bottle, but often forget it at home and end up buying some plastic bottle from the bookstore. A simple and positive step Union college could take would be to just ban plastic bottles on campus. Maybe at the beginning of Freshman year all students could be given some sort of reusable bottle. If this isn’t possible then at least the bookstore or Dutch could have less plastic bottles readily available.
I like that you showed a solution to the water bottle waste problem here on campus. The problem is real in our everyday lives and with this possible solution that we could place into practice.