Aquafina, Arrowhead, Crystal Geyser, Dasani. These are just a few water bottle brands we know and appreciate, but their undeniable convenience for a quick drink of water comes with a price: the environment and public health. Instead of worrying about how to carry that 28-pack bottled water case upstairs to your apartment, why not choose a reusable water bottle? This option saves you the effort of hauling heavy water cases around and also protects the environment and your health!
Plastics are bad, for the Earth and for you.
The domination of plastic on Earth over the last 70 years has developed into a serious environmental problem. People have been exploring ways to reduce plastic consumption. One of the greatest ways to halt excessive plastic use is to stop buying disposable water bottles for good and replace them with reusable water bottles. However, it is hard for people to resist the temptation to buy disposable bottled water. After all, they are enticingly convenient to grab on the go, especially while in a rush! But once you know how much making the switch matters, you might be more resolved to stick with reusable.
Plastics are made of crude oil, a nonrenewable resource. The amount of oil required to produce a plastic bottle can fill up a quarter of the bottle created. Annual American consumption of plastic bottles requires 17 million barrels of oil – enough energy to fuel 1 million cars for a year. From oil digging to water bottling, approximately one ounce of carbon dioxide is emitted for each ounce of plastic produced. After the plastic bottle is disposed of, it takes up to 450 years to decompose in a landfill while rainwater washes its toxic chemicals into the soil.
Plastics are also harming your health. Contrary to popular belief, bottled water is not necessarily a healthier option. Manufacturers pay millions of dollars to convince you that expensive bottled water is healthier. However, in many cases, bottled water is either from tap water or nonfiltered sources. Bottled water is also not subject to the same strict regulations as municipal tap water.
Additionally, toxins from the plastic packaging may leak and enter the bottled water, leading to microplastics entering your body. Despite undergoing filtration, the water is still at risk of contamination by chemicals leaked from plastics. Bisphenol A is a chemical commonly found in plastics that can lead to endocrine disruption, reduced sperm count, impaired brain development and cancer.
Studies showed that microplastics are found everywhere, from the lungs of surgical patients to the placenta of the unborn fetus, but are especially rampant in bottled water and disposable cups. Thus, it is no surprise that microplastic contamination is possible. Although the level of risk these contaminants pose to human health is still unclear, it is not wise to ingest microplastics rashly if avoidable.
Plastics are also expensive.
Ironically, bottled water manufacturers’ major cost is plastics instead of the actual water. As consumers, we are essentially paying for the plastic when we are paying for bottled water.
Laws are now forcing customers to pay for plastics. Effective June 1, 2022, all Berkeley restaurants and cafés began to charge customers an extra 25 cents for disposable cups. For frequent cafégoers, especially college students, these expenses can add up to a significant bill.
Unfortunately, however, recycling is not the perfect solution.
Some may contend that if we recycle every plastic bottle, problems will be solved. However, that is not necessarily the case. In fact, less than 30% of plastic bottles are recycled in the United States, and few of them are made into new bottles. Instead, most of them are transformed into lower-grade plastics, which can no longer be recycled afterward.
But where does the plastic end up? Millions of tons of plastics end up in the ocean annually, and these plastics kill about 100,000 marine mammals every year. Sixty-five percent of marine mammal species are known to become entangled in plastic. If we don’t take action, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
It is safe and sexy to bring your own bottle.
So, why not bring your own reusable bottle to café and to class? Thanks to the UC Healthy Beverage Initiative, plenty of refilling stations are now available across campus. And rest assured, tap water on Berkeley campus is safe to drink! According to University Health Services, tap water on campus is sourced and filtered thoroughly before it is brought to water fountains. Water quality is carefully and rigorously tested for contaminants or other potential issues to meet federal and state standards, reaffirming that tap water on campus is safe to drink from.
What’s more, your own water bottle reflects your personality — customize your reusable bottle with amazing stickers to show off to everyone!
Bring a reusable bottle with you, and you’ll find you save effort, money and the environment all at once.