As you know, April is National Recycling Month. Over the course of the month, I have discussed responsible waste management through the three steps of the recycling process: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The first post detailed how to take preventative measures to reduce your consumption. The second post gave suggestions on how to seek out creative solutions to reuse household items. In this third and final post, I will discuss the importance and impact of the third stage of the waste hierarchy – recycling.
What’s Wrong with Bottled Water?
Recycling is a process that converts waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials. The goal of recycling is to reduce the need for “conventional” waste disposal. At DiscountFilters.com, we pride ourselves on our line of water filters because they reduce the need for bottled water. Although bottled water allows you the convenience of portability, it ends up causing more damage than benefit. Here are some statistics about bottled water:
- Americans consume about 50 billion water bottles a year requiring 17 million barrels of crude oil to produce this number. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year!
- For every six bottles of water used, only one makes it to the recycling bin. The remainder is piled into landfills.
- The average American used 167 disposable bottles last year, but only recycled 38.
- The recycling rate of the U.S for plastic is only a meager 23 percent. This means that 38 billion plastic water bottles are sent to landfills. That’s more than $1 billion worth of plastic!
- One reusable water pitcher can replace nearly 300 plastic water bottles.
How to Recycle Your Bottles
As you can see, there is a growing problem as more and more plastic water bottles continue to take up valuable real estate inside the U.S.’s rapidly shrinking landfill space. To solve this problem, we need to change the way we think about plastic water bottles. Luckily, most plastic water bottles and jugs are 100% recyclable. Recycling your used water bottles is easy! Simply collect your empty bottles in a separate waste receptacle and take them to your local recycling plant. Many cities and residences have established recycling programs where they will collect recyclables alongside your other waste. Make sure to have your recycling in a specially marked container. Most bottled water is made of plastic #1 or #2. Your local recycling facility will typically collect these types of plastics without a problem. Some facilities even collect up to plastics #4 and #5! If you are unsure if your recycled bottles will be accepted, contact your local recycling facility.
Effects of Recycling
By recycling your used bottles, you are making a difference. Ensuring that the plastic from bottled water gets properly reused is a responsible act of environmental consciousness, and a simple step to reduce the amount of plastic waste entering the nation’s landfills. Alongside responsibly recycling your plastic waste, you can also replace the need for bottled water altogether by investing in a reusable, refillable water bottle. This will remove the need to purchase bottled water altogether. Not only will this save the earth, but it can also save you money in the long run. For National Recycling Month, remember that recycling waste responsibly is a simple step to take to make the world a cleaner place.