Earth Day Every Day: Sobering Facts About Just a Few of Our Wasteful, Human Habits

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” ~Chief Seattle

plastic garbageThink you’re getting something special when you buy a bottle of water? Think again, because 90% of the cost of a bottle of water can be attributed to bottling, packaging, shipping, and marketing. Any idea where most of that water comes from? Are you picturing a babbling brook? A sparkling spring? Swallow this: 44% of bottled water sold in the United States is municipal water run through a filter. In other words, you can pretty much get the same thing for a fraction of the cost by sticking a water bottle under the filtered water dispenser on your refrigerator. What’s more, sticking a reusable bottle under the tap on the refrigerator is undeniably better for the environment.

  • It’s estimated that it will take a plastic water bottle buried in a landfill thousands of years to decompose.
  • It takes 1,100 – 2,000 more times as much energy to produce and transport a bottle of water than to produce the same amount of tap water.
  • It took 50 million barrels of oil to produce about 1 million tons of water bottles in the United States in 2006, most of which (about 76%) ended up in landfills.

Sobering Facts About Plastic Bags:

  • Americans use about 1 billion shopping bags every year. Those plastic bags create 300,000 tons of waste within landfills.
  • Less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bags costs $4,000. The recycled product can be sold for $32.
  • Plastic bags do not decompose. Instead, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, contaminating soil and water.
  • There are huge islands made of plastic debris collecting in our oceans. These plastic pollutants are responsible for the deaths of approximately one million marine animals every year.

These are just a few compelling reasons to make a conscious effort to utilize reusable products in our daily lives. A few simple changes as easy as employing reusable water bottles and keeping a stockpile of reusable tote bags in the car can make a world of difference.

 

Sources:

epa.gov

cleanair.org