For minimizing waste and saving money, one should consume less and focus more on efficiency than convenience. A considerable amount of energy is required for manufacturing, filling, shipping, and recycling or destroying plastic water bottles. Washing and reusing plastic water bottles help in decreasing waste and landfill crowding, minimizing pollution and conserving energy. Refilling a plastic water bottle with tap water is significantly less resource intensive than buying commercially purified and bottled water. However, reuse of water bottle has its disadvantages too. Read on to know about the pros & cons of reusable water bottles.
Pros of Reusable Water Bottles
Plastic bottles are among the least recycled materials. Only 1 out of 6 plastic bottles, i.e. just about 17% of all plastic water bottles bought by consumers get recycled. Millions of plastic water bottles are discarded daily, which end up littering highways, dumped in incinerators, clogging waterways or thrown in landfills. The plastic present in landfills can require about 700 years in decomposing. Further, millions of barrels of oil are required each year for manufacturing, transporting, and disposing plastic water bottles, to meet the customer demand for these bottles. Reusing of plastic water bottles is highly beneficial for the environment. If the plastic water bottles are re-used, then there is reduced need for manufacturing newer bottles and lesser trash ending up in landfills, parks and streams. Reusing of plastic water bottles can considerably reduce pollution, energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions. Along with the environmental benefits, there are direct and indirect financial benefits of reusing water bottles as well. By reusing a plastic water bottle, 10 times the cost of the bottle can be saved. Buying and reusing 1 water bottle per year can result in significant financial savings. While direct financial savings are the most obvious and substantial, reusing water bottles also offers indirect financial benefits. Decreased consumption of natural resources implies reduced monthly utility bills, and less strain on landfills and recycling programs can result in tax reductions or other savings. So these were the pros of reusable water bottles. Let’s take a look at the cons of reusable water bottles.
Cons of Reusable Water Bottles
According to experts, most beverage bottles sold in the world are manufactured from polyethylene terephthalate, a form of plastic certified safe for use and reuse by the FDA. However, it is important to bear a few things in mind for safety reasons, when reusing plastic water bottles. For instance, reusing water bottles just as they are, without cleaning them properly can result in growth of harmful organisms such as bacteria. So, it is imperative to clean each and every plastic water bottle every time before re-using them, just like any other beverage or food container. When cleaned thoroughly, the risk of contamination from plastic water bottles decreases and is the same of mugs or glasses can be easily re-used. Also, many plastic water bottles contain the chemical called Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is linked to various health risks. Bleaching or heating of plastic bottles can lead to increased leeching of BPA into the bottle’s contents, which causes health problems when content is consumed. So this is a major con for reusable plastic water bottles. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that PET, which is a form of plastic often used to make plastic water bottles, can contain chemicals which can disrupt a person’s hormone levels. These chemicals can potentially disturb the body’s natural level of estrogen and other hormones too.
Ways of Reusing Plastic Water Bottles
Plastic water bottles are re-used by most people for storing water or other liquids. Apart from this, there are numerous other ways of reusing plastic bottles. For instance, the top of a bottle can be cut off for using it to store pencils or art supplies, or a slit can be cut into the top for a plastic bottle for using it as a piggy bank. A plastic bottle can be filled halfway with water, placed in the freezer, and then used as an instant ice pack. Also, the top half of a bottle can be used as a funnel, while the bottom half be used as a plastic pot for plants. So, before throwing away your plastic water bottle, remember these different ways in which plastic water bottles can be re-used.
Recycling of plastic water bottles is definitely better for our environment when compared to ditching them in the trash; however, one should also consider the fact that recycling consumes energy needed for processing the thrown plastic into some other usable product. Other than this, the recycling process of the plastic also generates air pollutants and waste water. On the other hand, reusing plastic bottles neither requires extra energy, expenditure, nor does it increase pollution. So, ideally, it would be better to entirely stop purchasing and using plastic bottles for the sake of our environment. However, if one cannot avoid using disposable plastic containers, one should try to make good re-use of them as many times as possible or purchase reusable water bottles. When these containers are no longer useable, the individual should opt for recycling them rather throwing them away. This habit helps to ensure maximum financial and environmental benefits.