Impact of Plastic Water Bottles on Global Landfills and the Environment
Global landfills have grown to enormous sizes--a waste management problem that has been exacerbated by the tremendous amount of plastic bottles produced by the water industry and subsequently discarded.
Some estimates place the annual amount of waste, in US landfills alone, at a staggering threshold of over 60 billion plastic water bottles. Only a dismally small percentage of that total is recycled.
The energy required to manufacture and transport plastic water bottles to market severely drains limited fossil fuels.
Every ton of plastic for the bottles produces roughly 3 tons of carbon, adding 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions to 17 million barrels of oil used in production. Carbon dioxide emissions are one of the major contributors to the greenhouse effect which accounts for global climate change.
- Roughly 17 million barrels of oil go into the production of bottled water every year, not including transportation.
- The cost of transport--moving every bottle by rail or truck and keeping it cool--means you may as well have filled it 1/4 of the way with oil.
Plastics pose a hazard to all maritime and land animals. Fish, birds, marine mammals, reptiles, and other animals can become entangled in discarded plastics and sustain injuries from ingesting them.
Our oceans have become polluted with discarded plastic bottles and chemicals from decomposition can be passed on to fish which, in turn, can be passed on to humans.
Ironically, recycling plastic degrades its quality, necessitating the production of more new plastic to make the original product.
Bottom line: The effects of plastic are so universally harmful that the only real and lasting way to overcome its effects is to stop its production.
(Note: We gratefully acknowledge the following sources of information: wiki.answers.com: How Many Plastic Bottles Are Put into Landfills? and environmentalgraffiti.com: What Is the Real Cost of Bottled Water?)
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