Monday, June 11, 2007
Drinking Water...28 Billion Bottles Each Year
On today's Morning Edition, I heard a story about the increased demand to recycle water bottles. Turns out, most folks trash their used water bottles. If US recycling facilities have it their way, however, more bottle bills will be passed to increase the recycling rate of water bottles. (The current recycling rate for water & soda bottles is 23%.)
From an environmental perspective, passing a bottle bill sounds like a great idea. It simply doesn't make much sense to toss precious resources into landfills. After all, water bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (i.e., crude oil and natural gas), which are non-renewable resources.
But don't forget about economics: Recyclers will make tons of money from selling old water bottles to businesses. According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans consume approximately 28 billion single-serve water bottles each year. How much money will businesses profit from recycling used water bottles? China knows the answer to this question. They're the #1 importers of this product.
All this talk about recycling, however, ignores the other two R's: reduce and reuse. We can sidestep this issue dramatically by using reusable water bottles.
Since hearing Elizabeth Royte's featured speech at BagFest, I made the switch from using plastic bottles to this ultra-cool reusable bottle made from aluminum. It really was just a minor tweak in my drinking behavior. If you're interested in making the water-bottle switch, check out this website: www.reusablebags.com