Plastic is all around us. Practically everything we own and use is made from plastic. One plastic product that has a huge impact on the environment and causes unnecessary ecological damage is the single use plastic water bottle. The whole process of producing plastic bottles has an impact on the environment. There is the production, the shipping, the storage, the refrigeration and then the bottles are thrown out ending up as land fill or in some cases recycled. Using something once and then throwing it away is not logical, there is no “away”.

Sustainable living
Reusable bottle versus plastic bottle. Image: Carl Bento
© Australian Museum

The bottles that end up in land fill just create piles of toxic waste which then seeps into the soil and our rivers and oceans.

I recently visited Australia’s first bottled water free town – Bundanoon. Bundanoon does not sell bottled water and have installed fantastic bubblers and bottle fill stations around the town and the school. I filled up my water bottle at the fill station and the water tasted good – as good as any bottled water.

This community is showing how we can live easily without the single use bottled water. It also makes sense not to pay for something you can get for free and will not harm our health in the long run.

Here are some facts I found out about plastic bottles which are found on various websites:
• Over 400,000 barrels of oil is used per year in Australia to manufacture the plastic to make the bottles
• Out of all plastic bottles only about 30% are recycled
• Tap water costs 1 cent per litre compared to bottled water which costs $2.53 per litre
• It takes seven litres of water to make a one litre water bottle
• There are 200 billion litres of bottled water consumed worldwide with an estimate of $100 billion dollars
With so many plastic bottles ending up in landfill surely we could use this waste as a resource. If manufactures could redesign the system from a linear process to a closed loop design then we would solve part of the waste problem.

I encourage all kids heading back to school to buy re-usable aluminium bottles instead of plastic bottles. They come is some very cool designs. I have a small one with Martians on it and a large one with cartoon characters playing soccer.

I encourage all adults to buy one as you can refill them easily at your workplace. Think of the money you will save.

By not buying single use water bottles is a long term behavioural change we can all do easily to help your wallet and especially the planet.

Remember ‘Habits made today will help life tomorrow’.

By Parrys Raines