Thanks to the internet, we’re becoming more aware of how our habits have ended up harming the planet. Since roughly 46% of Google users search for local information, it’s no wonder we’re finding out more about how the recycling programs in our cities aren’t nearly as effective as we thought or how plastic pollution is hurting native wildlife. As such, many local businesses and individuals have made an effort to curb their dependency on single use plastics. But while plastic bag bans have already gone into effect in many states, there’s another common plastic product we continue to use — and throw away — at an alarming rate.
That product is bottled water. While bottled water is still rather ubiquitous in many grocery stores and casual eateries, the American public is starting to realize that it’s no longer acceptable to use these single use receptacles just to ensure proper hydration. While we rely on plastics for almost everything — like the products made from reaction injection molding, for example — the plastics used to create bottled beverages are used for only a limited time. Of course, that doesn’t mean their lifespan is short. While we have water storage tanks still in use after 100 years or longer, it can take plastic bottles 450 years to decompose in our nation’s landfills.
In other words, the decision to grab a bottle of water for sheer convenience can have huge consequences. And since more than 49 million Americans participated in freshwater or saltwater fishing in 2017 — and all of us rely on the health of our ecosystem as a whole — we need to make some sweeping changes if we want to preserve the planet before it’s too late.
One relatively simple way to do your part is for your family to stop drinking bottled water. But if the habit of picking up a 12-pack or grabbing a bottle on your way out the door is deeply engrained, changing your routine might take some getting used to. But keep in mind that ditching bottled water for good can also allow your family to save money in the long run and teach your kiddos about responsibility (environmental and otherwise).
By purchasing plastic-free, reusable water bottles for every family member, you can encourage everyone to think ahead and focus on frequent hydration while reducing waste. You may also want to consider purchasing a water filtration system if you don’t already have access to filtered water at home. There are even portable devices that will treat tap water while you’re out of the house, which means you can gain access to fresh and clean water no matter where you are. And if you do need to buy water when you’re on-the-go, opt for glass bottles or eco-friendly packaging whenever possible.
It’s not always easy to change your habits. But when something so small can have such big effects, it makes sense (and cents) to give it a good effort. Set the resolution to stop using bottled water as a family next year and see for yourself the difference it can make.