According to the Environmental Working Group, the annual manufacturing of plastic bottles for water in the United States consumes as much oil as required to fuel a million cars. The manufacturing of bottles may also compromise the air and ground surrounding bottle manufacturing plants.
The threat to the environment from discarded water bottles is significant. Plastics are produced with a bevy of chemicals, each of which may leach into the ground after being disposed of. Many of these chemicals are carcinogens and can be dangerous when the plastics are heated or incinerated for disposal. These same chemicals also may leach into the foods and beverages packaged inside certain plastic bottles. One chemical, bisphenol A, or BPA, is particularly concerning. BPA is present in many plastic water bottles, and medical specialists have suggested that BPA can contribute to everything from ADHD to depression to cancer and even diabetes.
It is adviseable for people to drink several servings of water each and every day to remain healthy. But there are ways to minimize dependence on bottled water to help promote a healthier environment and a healthier body.
Choose the right plastic.
When selecting plastic containers to hold water, choose among those that are marked with the #2, #4 or #5 symbols. These are high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene. These plastics are safer than other options.
Fill up a glass or aluminum bottle
Aluminum and glass bottles can be found in many natural food and natural products markets. These containers can be safely reused and then eventually recycled when they need to be replaced.
Choose larger containers
If you must purchase bottled water, select larger gallon containers that can be used to fill up reusable bottles instead of buying individual-use bottles.
Invest in a water filter.
Filters that attach to the faucet in the kitchen or filters on the water-supply line of a refrigerator provide fresh-tasting water straight from the tap.
Do not reuse plastic water bottles.
Health advocates recommend not reusing bottles made from plastic #1. They may leach DEHP when washed or heated. Furthermore, used bottles may harbor harmful bacteria that can make a person sick. Put them in the recycling bin right after use. Bottled water has become a staple because of the presumed health benefits. Reducing dependency on bottled water can help the environment by reducing trash and chemical leaching.