About 50 billion disposable plastic water bottles are consumed around the world each year. This does not include the billions of other plastic materials littering the globe, chocking our environment in more ways than one.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, which is produced from crude oil, is what most plastic bottles are made from. In the process of oil extraction, greenhouse gasses are released, which harm the environment, and production of plastic spews toxins into our environment.
The transport of bottled water from the plant to the stores and consumers are climate and fuel-intensive. It has been estimated that in some cases a liter of gasoline is needed to transport a bottle of water. The Earth Policy Institute reports that “about one in four bottles of water crosses at least one international border by boat, train or truck before being consumed.” And all these modes emits carbon dioxide, aggravating climate change.
Today, most plastic bottles end up as litter and dumped in landfills and waterways, where they take hundreds of years to decompose. On the other hand, recycled plastic bottles are shredded and melted back into pellets and sold to plants that manufacture recycled plastic products, including fleece used in blankets and clothing, among others. Plastic garbage in oceans “is a major ecology problem, polluting the water and threatening sea creatures and birds.” According to Ocean Conservatory, there are over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in every square mile of ocean. Marine life, birds, and other animals eat them and die.