by Eileen Weber
I have three kids, two dogs, and whole lot of chaos at my house. My mornings start with getting the kids up, throwing in a load of laundry, making breakfast, feeding the kids, dropping them off at school, and cleaning up the mess when I get home. With any luck, I end my day with enough sanity to germinate for another tomorrow.
While I try to be eco-conscious as much as possible, I think I still throw out too much plastic. Our town only accepts some of the plastics, not all. They take #1 and #2 bottles, but none of the other plastics that litter my countertop. So that means the rest is going into the garbage. It makes me wince every time.
I could lull myself into complacency and tell myself that at least I’m doing something for the environment. Perhaps ignorance really is bliss. But sometimes, it takes a little wake-up call to remind us of what throwing out plastic really means.
- In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each but only recycled an average of 23 percent. That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills.
- Bottled water costs between $1 and $4 per gallon, and 90 percent of the cost is in the bottle, lid and label.
- According to the Beverage Marketing Corp, the average American consumed 1.6 gallons of bottled water in 1976. In 2006 that number jumped to 28.3 gallons.
- It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s supply of bottled water. That’s enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars.
- Eight out of 10 plastic water bottles become landfill waste.
- In 2007 we spent $16 billion on bottled water. That’s more than we spent on iPods or movie tickets.
- Plastic bottles can take up to 1000 years before they begin to decompose once buried.
- If everyone in NYC gave up water bottles for one week, they would save 24 million bottles from being landfilled. One month on the same plan would save 112 million bottles, and one year would save 1.328 billion bottles from going into the landfill.
So the next time I recycle, I will remember why the effort is worth it.