There are more than 1 million plastic bottles purchased each minute in the world. Not only is this number shocking, it is unhealthy for the environment, considering the fact that more than 90% of those bottles are not recycled. The same amount of fossil fuels that can be used to power over 1 million cars in a year is currently used to produce plastic bottles. In addition, the production of plastic bottles requires more that two times the amount of water that is put into the bottles themselves. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that we are in a crisis. Fortunately, there are groups focused on saving our islands, oceans, airways and the like. Below, you will learn more about the problems that plastic bottles pose to the environment as well as the potential solutions that they offer.
The Problem of Plastic Bottles
Each year, over 50 billion bottles of water are used across the globe. Though many environmental efforts have been put in place to quell this number, it is projected to continue on its current trajectory for the foreseeable future. Plastic does not just dissolve overtime, it lasts forever. This presents a unique problem for our oceans and planet overall, considering that there are more than 270,000 tons of plastic floating in the waters of the world.
If everyone were to use at-home water filtration systems and decline the use of plastic bottles, we would be in a more favorable position. Unfortunately, that is not likely. Most all plastic bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET). When PET plastics degrade, they absorb harmful chemicals and pass them on to the environment. Perhaps it is better to categorize this plastic bottle phenomena as an epidemic of massive proportions. However, in all of human history, we have found solutions to issues that cause massive health issues. There are viable solutions that can allow you to still use plastic while learning to recycle or upcycle them.
The Solution of Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles are a detriment to the environment when produced and discarded. With this in mind, there are only two ways to lessen the harmful effects. The first: outlaw the production of plastic bottles or heavily tax them. The second: recycle them after they have been used.
The former option seems more feasible, considering that plastic bottles help millions of people to drink clean water everyday. There is no lack of creative ways to recycle your plastic bottles: purchase a filter and use them in perpetuity, use them as plant pots, convert them into workout equipment, use them to build artwork and building structures. In addition, plastic bottles can be used to create clothing, houses, and accessories.
No matter how you decide to recycle your plastic bottles, it is imperative to the future of our planet that you begin immediately or abstain from using them all together. Not only can it save you money and time, it will decrease your individual footprint while helping more than 700 species of animals as well as the future of mankind.
Contributed by Ali Allen
Island Conservation Society