April 21, 2010

5 minutes to drink 500 years on earth...your only legacy?

By:  Larry D Rickman
April 21st, 2010
Dream green:  News from the front lines of the (R)evolution

We all know plastic bottles last for years, and years, and years, and years, and years, and years (you get the point) sitting in landfills.  Don't we all know this?  No?  Well then lets get everyone educated.  Plastic, especially hard plastic, could possibly be our only legacy?  Imagine that you go to 7-11 and buy a bottle of water you are very thirsty so you drink it very quickly and throw the bottle in the trash can outside.  You go on living the rest of your life; 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years pass and you die.  The plastic bottle you drank when you were 20 will go on living in the landfill for another 400-1000 years (depends on which study you subscribe to).  So in fact your legacy is a filled landfill full of plastic bottles.

167 plastic bottles per person per year in the US

Many commentators tell you to abandon the plastic bottle completely.  While this would be a great thing for the environment, energy consumption, the future, etc. I favor myself as a bit more of a realist.  The average American uses 167 plastic bottles a year, 20 of them are recycled.  If we could cut this consumption by 75% we would lose over 4 Billion water bottles annually.  Think about that what does 4,000,000,000 billion plastic bottles look like?  You could wrap the earth 109+ times. 

I don't expect you to abandon your old ways that easily so lets start with baby steps; don't buy bottled water to put in your refrigerator.  You are spending $10-20 a week on bottled water.  That is $520-1040 a year.  Instead buy 5 reusable (non-BPA) water bottles like the below.  Fill it up in the morning and go; you can continue refilling it throughout the day if you need to with no need to buy plastic water bottles or soda bottles. 

Last thing I'll leave you with is; eliminate off the shelf cleaners and instead use green products that can be diluted at home.  You will eliminate the waste of the throw away plastic bottle the off the shelf products come in saving the landfill, energy used to create the bottle, etc.  Look under the green products tab above for some green cleaning product recommendations.

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