With 200 billion bottles of water currently consumed annually around the world, the impact on the environment is vast. Approximately 176 billion of these plastic bottles end up in the ocean or as landfill, contributing to the astounding 10% of all plastic manufactured around the world which ends up in the sea, never to biodegrade.
Plastic in the sea has an array of negative effects on sea-dwelling animals and marine life, such as poisoning and damage to their stomachs and intestines if ingested. Algae and plankton have also begun to ‘hitch hike’, whereby they lay their eggs on floating pieces of plastic, rather than vegetable material which decays. As plastic does not degrade, these eggs are now travelling considerable distances, damaging fragile ecosystems.
With regards to our own health, the long-term effects of our use of plastic are as yet unknown. Whilst we are aware of the dangers pf toxins such as BPA (bisphenol-A) and petroleum which were present in plastic produced from the 1960s until the last decade, the effect of a wealth of non-degradable plastic in landfill in years to come is a considerable concern.
Bottled water is, on average, 2,000 times more expensive to produce than tap water and it takes three times the volume of water to manufacture the plastic for one water bottle than it does to fill it. 17 million barrels of oil are used every year to manufacture bottled water and processing, transporting and chilling bottled water prior to consumption uses approximately 50 million barrels of oil per year.
It is estimated that 1.2 billion people around the world do not have access to clean, safe drinking water – a problem which is only set to worsen with the ever-expanding population – yet many are happy to pay a premium for bottled water.
What can you do about it?
There are several ways you can help to reduce the impact of bottled water on the oceans and environment:
- Avoid buying bottled water where possible, in favour of tap water
- Drink filtered tap water from a filter bottle or jug, or install a filter tap in your home or workplace if you don’t like the taste of the water in your local area
- Recycle all plastic such as bottles and packaging either at a recycling centre or through your kerbside collection service
Bottles and packaging made from ‘bio-plastic’ are an environmentally friendly alternative to non-biodegradable plastic. Made from 100% plant material, this ‘plastic’ is carbon neutral and toxin free. Bottles and packaging made from ‘bio-plastic’ use, on average, 65% less energy and fuel to produce than standard plastic, reducing emissions and greenhouse gases which are produced to an extensive level in the manufacture of traditional plastic.
Taking part in the Plastic Free July challenge is the ideal way to commit to reducing your plastic environmental footprint. By refusing to use single-use plastic in any guise throughout the month of July, you’ll be joining more than a million people from 130 countries around the world to raise awareness of the impact of non-recyclable plastic on the environment.
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Bough to Beauty Bespoke
Being a green business will help the environment and could improve your company’s chances of success. Sustainable business is about meeting three key requirements; being environmentally friendly, considerate towards society (especially those affected by your business), and profitable so the business can survive, thrive and act responsibly whilst making a positive impact.
It isn’t about writing a policy and filing it away to gather dust, it’s about taking action. A sustainable business should have these values ingrained in their business strategy and daily decision making. Do you run a sustainable business?
At Bough to Beauty Bespoke, we want to help you by sharing innovative solutions that tackle environmental challenges facing businesses today. We’ve lined up some inspiring interviews with successful sustainable businesses that are making a positive impact.
We’ll be sharing these inspirational stories on our blog, along with simple steps to make your business more sustainable and more successful.