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How Are Plastic Water Bottles Still a Thing?

Due to their convenience and low cost, plastic water bottles seem like a valuable resource and necessity. But the reality is, their downfalls far outweigh their benefits. From environmental hazards to risks to our own health, using these disposable water bottles is just not worth it. For these reasons and more we beg the question: how are these still a thing?

We are all familiar with the upsetting photos of sea creatures stuck in plastic packaging, or chewing on an old bottle, but the problem extends even beyond that. Did you know that there are giant islands made of garbage in our oceans? One of these islands is called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, and the majority of this heap is plastic-based trash.

Over two million tons of the waste in our country’s landfills is composed purely of plastic water bottles, and it only gets worse. The amount of oil it takes to produce the amount of plastic used for water bottle manufacturing amounts to over one million barrels. And think of how much fuel it takes to transport that oil to where the plastic bottles are produced. 

If these environmental risks aren’t convincing enough, perhaps considering the risks to your personal health will change your mind. Store bought water found in disposable plastic bottles is less clean and less regulated than tap water. Additionally, many plastic water bottles contain BPA, chemicals that can be extremely harmful to your health if ingested. If you leave your disposable bottle sitting out for too long, or it gets warm from exposure to the sun, these chemicals can leach into the water. Over the course of your lifetime, continual ingestion of these chemicals can be incredibly damaging to your health.

Obviously, it’s difficult to quit using plastic all at once, but there are small changes we can make to start a difference. An easy fix is to stop using disposable plastic water bottles! They are extremely impractical and have a proven negative impact on not only the environment, but our health. With easy access to reusable bottles, Brita filters, water fountains, and bottle refilling stations on campus, there is really no excuse to be using regular plastic water bottles anymore. Invest in the cost of a decent water bottle once, and refill it for free for many years to come. You’ll be saving our planet, one sip at a time.  
Sources: 1, 2, 3Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Allie Bush

U Mass Amherst

Senior Communication Major at UMass Amherst
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