(And recycle when you do.)
Over 50 million plastic water bottles are thrown away — not recycled — in the United States
every single day. If you laid those bottles end to end, they’d stretch from New York City to
San Francisco. And back again.
While plastic water bottles are convenient (and oftentimes healthier for consumption) compared to unfiltered tap water, they cause more harm than good to both your wallet and planet.
Read on to see how water filters and reusable water bottles can save you a big chunk of change — and why we’re so passionate about #banningthebottle.
1. Bottled water costs 2000 times as much as tap water. And that cost is growing.
BusinessInsider reports that, at an average of $1.22 per gallon, consumers spend more than 300 times the cost of tap water to drink bottled water.
ConvergEx Group Chief Market Strategist Nick Colas tells the paper: “The bottled water industry grossed a total of $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons [of bottled water] in 2012, making bottled water about $1.22/gallon nationwide and 300 times the cost of a gallon of tap water.
“If we take into account the fact that almost two-thirds of all bottled water sales are single 16.9 ounce bottles, though,” Colas continued, “this cost is much, much higher: about $7.50 per gallon.
“[The cost of bottled water] is almost 2000 times the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline.”
Americans spent $11.8 billion on bottled water in 2012, a 6.5 percent increase from 2011. Since the tracking of dollar amounts started in 1991, consumption of bottled water has increased 312% and sales have increased 371%.
“What’s most remarkable about this data, though, is what it says about the American consumer: that despite the (debatable) excessively high cost of bottled water when compared to its tap equivalent, we continue to buy it – even during an economic downturn,” Colas says.
“While Americans did cut back slightly on bottled water during the recession of 2008-09, we hit a new all-time high in 2012, and show no sign of stopping.”
2. A family of four with reusable water bottles can save $123,000 after five years.
A Penn State University study found the average American can save $1,236/year if using a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic. That averages out to around $6,180 for five years. (That’s typically the minimum life expectancy of a reusable water bottle.) Many bottles cost under $20, and come in various styles to fit your budget and personal need.
Say you have a family of four, and all four of you buy $20 reusable bottles. That’s an $80 investment. Now take the $6,180 from above, multiply it by five years, and again by four people. Your family of four has saved over $123,000.
Imagine what you could buy with that — maybe a college education! Or 123,000 McChickens!
3. Landfill? More like gold mine.
The Natural Resources Defense Council states that $11.4 billion of recyclable post-consumer packing is put in U.S. landfills each year instead of being recycled.
80 percent of trash in our landfills is recyclable.
Recycling has twice the economic impact of burying it in the ground.
A study for the California Environmental Protection Agency states that recycling one additional ton of waste can pay $101 more in wages, produce $275 more in goods and services, and generate $135 more in sales.
Recycling is big business…for everyone.
Lloyd and Marin write that recycling is a mainstream industry, accounting for over 85,000 jobs. Recycling generates over $4 billion in salaries and wages and produces over $10 billion worth of goods and services per year.
4. Recycling plastic bottles can benefit your neighborhood and your state.
On top of creating jobs and building more economic activity at a local level, recycling generates over $200 million per year in sales tax revenue. This revenue helps local governments pay for health and social service programs, transportation improvements and more.
Want to read more? Check out our sources: