Is There Any Stopping Bottled Water?

Bottled water is a menace to society. That seems like an unnecessarily harsh description for a refreshing convenience, but when you factor in just how much plastic waste is being created for a product that flows freely from taps, itís a product that earns its ire from eco-conscious individuals.

In recent years, the environmental attack against water bottles seems to have gone mainstream. A large portion of the population finally understands the wastefulness of the products. Schools, national parks and even entire cities have banned the sale of plastic bottles in order to be part of the solution.

Unfortunately, the sales numbers donít reflect a change in consumer practices. As National Geographic reports, more people are drinking water out of single-use containers than ever before. Bottled water sales rose 7 percent in 2014 and by another 8 percent†in 2015.

Itís really doubtful that trend will reverse in 2016 given the tainted water situation in Flint, Mich. Factor in the general concern thatís sprung up about the water quality in other parts of the country, too, and thereís no way the bottled water industry isnít loving this turn of events.

Itís disheartening to realize that, despite the increased awareness of the harms of plastic bottles, these products are more in demand than ever. If environmentalists still havenít able to put a dent in the worldís drinking habits, is there any hope for reversing the trend?

At least there are some significant health benefits to increased water consumption. People are foregoing traditional bottled beverages Ė particularly those of the sugary and carbonated variety. In fact, bottled soda sales are at a 30-year low.

Alas, those health benefits are good for the human body, not the planet. Replacing soda bottles with water bottles creates no less plastic waste. Americans alone use about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year, yet only 23 percent†of those bottles get recycled. That accounts for over $1 billion in plastic waste.

It may be difficult to imagine, but the world doesnít need so much bottled water. Some companies have sold bottled water for decades, but even back in the Ď80s, sales were nothing worth speaking about. Sure, everyone needs water to survive, but this cultural shift toward people regularly drinking water in this manner doesnít need to be the way we do things.

Rather than contributing to the problem yourself, why not make a switch to a reusable canteen for your hydration needs? After all, tap water is cheaper and better regulated than bottled water.

Additionally, if youíre not ready to give up the fight against this plastic waste on a macro-level, how about signing some of these petitions attempting to do just that?

Better still, you could target a city, school or business that wastes too much plastic with a petition of your own. Care2 makes it easy to create a petition and collect signatures on issues dear to your heart:

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Krystel S.
Krystel Sabout a year ago

When you present an argument to a loyal consumer that involves environmentally conscious reasoning, that argument can hardly sink in. Now, if you discuss health benefits, that

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Marie W.
Marie W1 years ago

Only in emergencies would I buy some- have refillable.

S Gardner
sandy Gardner1 years ago

Just go back to thermos water you get from your own in refrigerator ...example zero water or britta.

Georgia a.
Georgia a1 years ago

How dumb to actually buy water in a bottle. How many of those companies do nothing but fill those zillions of bottles with plain tap water? My family purchased a number of steel bottles and keep in the fridge until we want one. Only cost...the steel bottles which should last darn near forever. It really ticks me off to see empties laying everywhere. It's rare when I venture out I don’t pick up a number of them to place in a recycling receptable.....and if one is not available, I take it home to put in mine.

jill Campbell
jill Campbell1 years ago

How about doing the same thing to bottled water that Canada does with our cigarette packaging. Force large labelling on each bottle saying "Harmful to all living creatures & our planet" along with a photo example. or "Deadly to all....."

Gloria picchetti
Gloria p1 years ago

I know people who are addicted to bottled and canned water despite the fact our town has perfectly fine tap water.

Peggy B.
Peggy B1 years ago

I don't drink bottled water.

Samantha B.
Samantha B1 years ago

I agree with Patrica Harris. If we want to put an end to bottled water, then it's up to us to make that happen.

Kimberly J.
Kimberly J1 years ago

I grew up in a large Midwestern city where the tap water was cold & tasted good. I now live in the Deep South where the tap water is warm & tastes bad, even with a filter. As I said in my previous post, I refill my small water bottles from the 2.5 gallon jugs. If I had room in my kitchen, I would use the refillable bottles. I do have some small metal bottles I fill & freeze if I'm going to be somewhere I won't have access to a cooler to keep my plastic bottles cold. If more people would refill the small plastic bottles & recycle them when they can no longer be used, there would be a lot less plastic waste building up. If police could ticket someone (Maybe a $5 fine) everytime they saw people throwing a plastic bottle on the ground, more people would recycle. Unfortunately, even if the fine were $100 a bottle, some people would still throw their trash on the ground. Municipalities need to clean up their water supply so it doesn't taste so bad & doesn't contain so many harmful chemicals. If that could be done, except for emergencies, plastic water bottles would no longer be needed.