Belinda Waymouth - The Tide is Turning Against Plastic Bottled Water
We love this video explaining the end of plastic bottled water from Belinda Waymouth. So much so that we want to share it and break down some of the facts quoted by Belinda.
Belinda Waymouth is the former Senior Writer at UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and former VP of The 5 Gyres Institute. She is dedicated to sharing environmental education and highlighting the positive solutions happening around the world. Here are some of the biggest plastic bottled water facts pointed out by Belinda that we've turned into shareables. Grab a plastic fact and share it! Everyone should know these facts about something so unfortunately common in our lives today, but hopefully not for long - plastic bottled water.
Shareable Plastic Facts
How does plastic get broken down?
Plastic does not biodegrade, which means it does not get transformed by bacteria in the soil into other useful compounds. Plastic photodegrades, which means instead of needing bacteria, the plastic trash needs the sunlight from the UV rays to reach the plastic and break the bonds keeping the molecule chains together. This process only breaks down the plastic into tinier pieces called microplastics.
Plastic doesn't biodegrade; it photodegrades - it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces.
How much plastic is in the ocean?
According to a 2015 study, 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic are floating at the surface of the ocean. This was much less than scientists expected to find and amounts to about 250,000 tons of plastic trash by weight. Plastic pollution is a global problem found in the world’s ocean at each of the 5 major oceanic layers from the surface to the seafloor.
The danger from plastic pieces being mistaken for fish food is menacing. Studies have shown when fish are exposed to plastic; they exhibit high stress and disorientation. Physically, fish suffer from liver toxicity and pathology. Plastic particulates are not only mistaken for food by fish, foraging fish express food search behaviors when exposed to the odor of plastic in water alone.
Is it better to focus on plastic straws or plastic bottles?
Straws makeup about 4% of the plastic trash by piece, but far less by weight. Any single-use plastic is destroying our planet, however since single-use plastic bottles are found in our oceans, landfills, and in our animals more often than plastic straws, it would benefit our planet to concentrate on replacing single-use plastic bottles with aluminum or glass options first, at the very least. In a global beach cleanup, 643,562 plastic straws and stirrers were collected compared to 1,569,135 plastic beverage bottles picked up. Straws make up just 0.025 percent of the plastic that finds its way into the ocean each year. Of course, it’s better to stop using both single-use plastic straws and beverage bottles, but it’s important to know the impact each focus will truly have.
Does plastic bottles get recycled?
90% of plastic does not get recycled. Plastic does not actually get recycled; it gets downcycled, which means only a small portion is used to make different products like clothing, carpet fibers, and other products. That plastic bottle you recycled does not equal another plastic bottle.
The problem here is that once the portion of the bottle is used to make a lesser material, that material, once it’s lifecycle, is over ends up in our landfills, oceans, or burned and the toxic fumes end up in our lungs. Another problem here is that since only 10 states in the U.S. even have recycling programs, and the ones that do recycle, the plastic must be delicately handled. Meaning it must be cleaned thoroughly and not have any contamination issues, as a result only 10% of the plastic ends up in a bin to be downcycled. Hence the number of microplastics being found in our food, in our oceans, rivers, landfills, and polluting our air. Solution: see PATHWATER.
How many plastic water bottles are produced every year?
We produce 1/2 TRILLION water bottles every year. So, just how big is 1/2 a trillion as a number? To give you an idea...
1 million seconds = 12 days
1 billion seconds = 32 years
1 trillion seconds = 32,000 years
How much does bottled water make in revenue?
Bottled water is a $100 billion per year industry - and 64% of bottled water is just MUNICIPAL TAP WATER.
There are many unfortunate failures of the bottled water industry. Although many of us have become accustomed to buying bottled water when we are out so easily at any store, the same water that keeps us alive is being poisoned from the chemicals that make up plastic. There are new solutions, like PATHWATER, that wants to introduce reusability and canteen-style bottled water for the same price as that single-use plastic bottled water we are used to..
How much does bottled water cost compared to tap water?
First of all, let's address the fact that 64% of bottled water is simply municipal tap water. Bottled water companies then turn around and charge us 2,000X more than tap actually costs. We don't even get to keep the bottles from the extrememly expensive transaction because the bottles are commonly single-use.
- For tap water, EPA has set maximum contaminant levels and/or treatment technique requirements for more than 90 contaminants
- 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the packaging, not water quality
- The EPA requires community water systems to deliver a Consumer Confidence Report to us annually by July 1
- Most of the bottled water you buy is glorified tap water
There are a few brands whose water actually comes from a spring, but even they must treat the water with chlorine or ozone before being bottled.
Are microplastics found in bottled water?
Absolutely. In fact, in just 1 liter of Nestle bottled water 10,000 pieces of microplastic were discovered. That's 10X more plastic than tap water. It's also important to note that Nestle takes up a large percentage of the market, owning 62 water brands.
75% of all aluminum that was ever put into production is still in use today.
An estimated 1,500 plastic bottles end up as waste in landfills or thrown in the ocean every second. “This is unacceptable; I cannot look my daughter in the eye when she gets older and tell her that we didn’t make a change. These facts are only evidence that we need to make a shift. But we shouldn’t need evidence, we should always be working toward doing the right thing and putting the planet before profits,” said Ali Orabi Co-Founder of PATHWATER.
“Humans are seeing see an ecological crises unfold and are pushing a giant beverage corporation to take responsibility for its part in the mess that’s been created - voting with your dollar, it works.” - Belinda Waymouth
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