Write and Respond 1- Joy Blazofsky

In America today, there has been a strong increase in the amount of reusable water bottles that we see in our everyday lives, compared to using a plastic water bottle. I noticed this trend specifically at Penn State, but now that I noticed it’s prominence, I tend to find it wherever I go as well. Reusable water bottles are not only saving money for users, but they are also saving the environment and ourselves from harm. Individuals should eliminate the regular use of plastic water bottles and consider investing in a reusable water bottle, due to its health benefits, not only for our bodies, but for our planet as well.

Take a plastic water bottle for example. An individual uses at least one plastic water bottle per day, assuming they are in a setting where faucet water is not readily available. This leads to our first problem: chemicals found in bottles of water. Though many people think that it is safer and cleaner to drink bottled water, this is not necessarily the case. Bottled water goes through a long process of filtration, which adds chemicals to clean the water, thus adding chemicals into the water that goes into our bodies that could potentially cause harm. Moreover, plastic bottles contain harmful chemicals known as BPA and phthalates, which are more commonly used  to make the plastic bendy and flexible. BPA and phthalates are chemicals that are known to disturb and effect the reproductive systems, leading to a variety of problems including  testicular tumors and development issues. The scary thing about this is that it is not regulated by the FDA because they do not look at it as a major health warning that could hurt one in the long run. Thinking about how many individuals are in contact with plastics each day, we are exposed to this harmful chemical in our lives and are ingesting small amounts of this chemical into our bodies that we aren’t even aware of. The chart below explains these ideas a little more clearly: 

The facts shown above emphasize just how much we are harming ourselves by willingly putting these harmful chemicals into our bodies. Though they seem like they are doing nothing, the chemicals are slowly hurting us and we will feel the effects of plastic water bottles later in life.

Plastic water bottles are affecting our everyday lives more than we realize. Each year, Americans use over 50 billion plastic water bottles, which only 23% are recycled. This means that an individual is using about 160 water bottles each year, and only 40 of those are recycled, which is shown below:

\(\frac {50,000,000,000 \text { plastic bottles }}{320,000,000 \text { Americans }} = 160 \text { bottles per person }\)

\(160 \text { bottles per person } \times 23 \% = 40 \text { water bottles recycled }\)

Though 40 water bottles per person per year doesn’t seem like much,it definitely adds up not only in terms of cost but also in terms of the safety of our planet and it’s resources. It takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil in order to create and recycle these water bottles each year, which is enough oil to fill up the tanks of 100,000 cars for an entire year. A simpler scenario to imagine could be if you fill up an empty water bottle 25%, this is how much oil is used to make a bottle.

Some may think that they don’t need to buy a reusable water bottle because they can just refill their plastic water bottle, however that is still not helping our planet. The plastic is the main problem, it more than likely will get placed into the landfill and will never be recycled into something again. This will harm our planet regardless, because even if the individual thinks that “as long as I use this water bottle, the less I will need to recycle it”, that is ultimately false.

The issues of plastic water bottles also add up in terms of how much money we are spending. An individual will spend up to two dollars each day on a single water bottle. These numbers can clearly add up, as shown below:

\( \frac { \$2 }{ 1 \text { plastic bottle }} \times \frac { 7 \text { plastic bottles }} {1 \text { week }} \times \frac {52 \text { weeks }}{ 1 \text { year }} = \$ 728\)

An individual can spend as much as $728 per year on plastic water bottles, yet a reusable water bottle only costs you about $15. That is a savings of $713 per year, which I know can definitely be put into better use than spending it on plastic bottles that you know are hurting our environment, such as buying a dog or paying for rent. A reusable water bottle virtually has no health risks, the bottle is made of stainless steel so there are no harmful chemicals such as BPA or phthalates to harm you. Reusable water bottles last for a very long time as long as you maintain them, i.e. rinse them out every now and then. People also don’t realize the features that the reusable water bottles contain. They have an air tight seal to prevent spilling or anything get into your drink. They can also keep your drink cold for up to 24 hours, which plastic does not hold that ability, especially when its in the sun for an hour.

So, how can we achieve these goals to use reusable bottles instead of plastics? First off, we can set initiatives to install water dispensaries that are more accessible to reusable water bottles, such as the ones that we see in the Hub on campus. We can also reduce the production of plastics in order to enforce the idea of investing in a reusable water bottle to those who are harming themselves and our planet by purchasing these massive cases of water bottles each day.

To conclude, the benefits of reusable water bottles outweigh the benefits of plastic water bottles tremendously. Reusable bottles don’t contain harmful chemicals compared to their counterparts, and they also save mass amounts of energy by not wasting plastic bottles and having to recycle all of that waste. Not only are we making a small impact on saving our environment by making this easy investment, but we are also saving ourselves from problems that can be easily avoided, such as debt and illness. Reusable water bottles are the safer bet, not only health wise, but also in terms of saving money and our environment.

 

Bibliography:

Plato, Olivia. “Environmental Benefits of Reusable Water Bottles.” EVST 100 Intro to the

        Environment Environmental Benefits of Reusable Water Bottles Comments,

  sites.lafayette.edu/evst100-sp14/2014/04/14/environmental-benefits-of-reusable-water-

“What’s the Problem with Plastic Bottles?” One Green Planet, 31 Jan. 2016,

www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/whats-the-problem-with-plastic-bottles/

 

“Why You Should Never Buy Disposable Water Bottles Again.” Greatist, 7 Mar. 2016,

greatist.com/health/why-you-should-never-buy-disposable-water-bottles-again

 

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