Drinking water is so good for you, there’s no denying it! Have you thought about where you get your water, though? If you have a reusable bottle that you fill and refill and refill again, then good for you! If you are a frequent buyer of plastic disposable bottles of water, it’s a good idea to consider how that bottle is formed and where it goes when you’re done with it.
Plastic bottles for water — and lots of other products and beverages — starts as oil, which is a non-renewable resource. Oil is made into plastic pellets that are then shaped and formed into the jars, bottles and containers that you see on store shelves. The oil that plastics are made from releases greenhouse gas when it’s pumped from the ground, and the conversion to plastic creates toxins in the environment as well. After you’ve consumed the water in that plastic bottle, if you choose to throw it away, it’s headed to the landfill for up to 1,000 years.
Obviously, recycling it is a much better option! Once a water bottle ends up in the recycling plant, a complex sorting process isolates it with other recyclable plastics of the same type. Depending on the facility, plastics may be sent to an area to be ground into small pieces, or it may be pressed and prepared to be shipped to another plant, either in the U.S. or overseas. It is washed of residue and cleared of any remaining labels and made into chips. Then after drying, it is melted into pellets that can be used to create any number of products like carpet, new plastic containers and even clothing!
Even though recycling a plastic bottle is for sure better than just throwing it away, the recycling process does use a significant amount of power, water and fuel for transportation. Avoiding disposable water bottles entirely is the best choice, with recycling coming in second, and littering really being the only option worse than throwing it away! If you’re wanting to move to a refillable bottle, here are some reviews to check out before you shop.