Environmental Impacts of Single-Use Bottled Water
It takes energy and resources to process, manufacture, transport, refrigerate and dispose single-use bottled water and its packaging. All these activities generate greenhouse gas emissions and create unnecessary waste, just for the sake of drinking clean water from a bottle, which is already available from our tap. In addition, bottled water from aquifers and springs can affect the groundwater levels and disrupt the natural and human communities staying nearby.
According to We Want Tap, approximately 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year worldwide, which accounts for approximately 2.5% of the world’s oil consumption.
Plastic bottles contribute to waste and litter
About 0.7 million tonnes of plastic waste was generated in Singapore in 2008, and the recycling rate was only 9%. Single-use bottled water are usually made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles. If you reduce the purchase of single-use bottled water, you can contribute less to our plastic waste problem.
If the used plastic bottles are not recycled, they end up as waste and sent to the incineration plants for burning, thus contributing to more carbon emissions. So if you are still buying and using bottled water, remember to recycle them using the public recycling bins or through the National Recycling Programme.
Another problem of plastic bottles is that they end up as litter at our waterways when not disposed properly. During the annual International Coastal Cleanup in Singapore in 2009, volunteers picked up 7389 plastic beverage bottles from the beaches and mangroves over 2 days.
Worldwide in 108 countries, volunteers in the International Coastal Cleanup picked up 883,737 plastic beverage bottles from the waterways, which is number 5 in the top 10 marine debris items collected, and 9% of total debris items.
A simple solution
We can all do our part to reduce the environmental impacts of bottled water. A simple solution would be to switch to using our own refillable water bottles, and stop buying or taking single-use bottled water.