Since the 1940s, plastic has been riding the wave of success. It is inexpensive and long-lived, and for centuries we’ll see it on the rubbish dumps and in our rivers and the sea.
Bottled water is big business, and billions of plastic bottles are to be found in supermarket stores. There are companies, however, who are beginning to realize the need to save the environment and are starting to make biodegradable plastic seriously.
Everyone concerned with the environment is hoping that biodegradable and recyclable polyethylene terephthalate plastic bottles are becoming the norm.
We look at 7 facts you may not even know about plastic bottles –
1. A giant culprit-company pleases consumers over the environment
The giant Coca-Cola company sells its popular drink in lightweight plastic. They make about 200,000 bottles a minute and have been ranked as the world’s top plastic-polluting corporation.
While other companies are looking at reusable containers, Coca-Cola is sticking with its single-use containers.
Yes, they are looking to use recycled material in their packaging by 2030, but they have no intention of stopping with the use of plastic bottles.
They say their consumers prefer them and consumers are what makes their business turn, not the environment. One wonders if their customers are aware of their blasé attitude.
2. Dangers of plastic bottled water
There is, fortunately, awareness about the negative impact of plastic bottles for drinking water. For starters, your bottled drinking water doesn’t come from where you think it does – a fresh mountain stream – but from public sources like your tap.
The other risk associated with drinking bottled water is that you are exposed to harmful toxins from the plastic. These toxins leach into the water and into your bloodstream.
Did you know that manufacturers of bottled water don’t even have to disclose the source of the water and its treatment process?
3. Insulating ourselves and ignoring the environment
Bottled water is a perfect example of what is known as inverted quarantine. It’s the danger of believing we can stave off sickness and risk by buying ‘green’ products.
More and more people are even buying inverted quarantine products such as organic foods, water filters, non-toxic household cleaners, and bottled water. They want these products to protect them from illness.
We are busy insulating ourselves from environmental problems rather than facing them head-on. While we are busy protecting ourselves, we’re not attending to the root cause of the problem – protecting the environment.
Once personal risks have been sorted out, further action to protecting the environment is shelved, whereas it needs to be intense and ongoing.
4. The true destination of disposed-of plastic bottles
Your plastic bottles and thousands of tons of other plastic rubbish goes to the poorest nations and also to China.
Most people are inclined to believe that your recycled plastic is transformed into something new and useful. Instead, it is transported to poor countries where poverty-stricken people are paid a small sum of money to sort the plastic.
No very glamorous for sure, but it’s providing them with a small income they wouldn’t have had. The downside is that this surge in foreign waste is preventing poor countries from their own efforts to handle their own waste.
5. Cool plastic water bottles and hot days don’t gel
Millions of people around the world are experiencing massive heat waves and reaching for their plastic water bottles to keep cool and hydrated.
Little do they know that the hotter it gets, the more toxins are released into the drinking water. As temperatures rise, the chemical bonds in the plastic break down and chemicals are more likely to leach.
The FDA tells us that the small amounts of chemicals are too minuscule to be a health risk, but scientists say these small doses add up in a big way.
Most water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate or PET. Heat speeds up the release of antimoney in PET bottles that exceeds safety recommendations.
Water bottles that can be used repeatedly and made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) are accepted by recycling programs.
6. A multi-billion dollar industry
If you’ve got concerns about the dangers of plastic bottles to our health and the environment, they’re not going anywhere out of our lives soon.
Business and making millions always comes first, and with the plastic bottles market valued at USD 159.68 billion and expected to reach USD 240.00 billion by 2025, nothing is changing soon.
Plastic is still one of the most utilized packing materials there is and sometimes there are efforts to tackle environmental concerns and make plastic bottles safer for use. Still, it seems as if that interferes with good business, then long live plastic.
7. A precious resource used to produce even more plastic
Oil is a precious resource and the demand for it has meant that production has skyrocketed. About 8% of the world’s oil production is used to make even more plastic.
As per estimates, almost 12 million barrels of oil a year are used in making plastic for the US market.