The upsurge in the use of plastics over the past 50 years has created a permanent ecological problem in the form of plastic waste collecting in our rivers, streams and oceans, and leaking toxins into the water we consume.
Many diligent and hard-working consumers have looked for ways to reduce their plastic consumption, for both health and environmental reasons. Investing in a reusable water bottle is one such way.
It is true that plastic water bottles can be recycled, something many people are probably already doing. However, reusing water bottles and refilling them with water can be better both for us and the environment
Following are some reasons why it makes more sense for everyone to reuse water bottles.
The plastic waste problem
The use of bottled water has increased over the past few decades. More than a million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, and the surge in the use of plastic bottles is expected to continue in the years to come.
It is estimated that in Europe, we are producing 25 million tons of plastic waste every year. Almost 60 per cent of all this plastic waste comes from packaging, including bottled water. The greater problem is that plastic waste generation is increasing at a higher rate than the rate of recycling.
The increasing generation of plastic waste is also a problem in Malta. Everyone needs to do their part to tackle this plastic waste problem, through appropriate waste assortment, disposal and recycling, but this is where reusing water bottles can make a big difference to address the problem.
This little adjustment to our daily habit can make a huge contribution to the reduction to the plastic waste we are generating.
Plastic is a lightweight and versatile material and so it is one that we can easily get accustomed to consuming, and possibly overconsuming, on a daily basis. The attractiveness of plastic can be seen from the fact that, in Malta, each and every person generates over 70 kilograms of waste of this lightweight material on an annual basis. This, therefore, does not remain a lightweight problem.
Reusing water bottles
Most of the water bottles being produced today are safe for both single and repeated use. When reusing plastic bottles, just make sure they don’t have any signs of wear and tear. Rinsing reused plastic water bottles is also recommended to avoid the accumulation of bacteria.
For a more permanent solution, why not opt for stainless steel water bottles, which apart from probably being more visually appealing and customisable, are sturdier and easier to clean? Nice and sturdy reusable water bottles have become increasingly available for everyone to use and are available in various forms, colours and sizes.
A reusable stainless steel water bottle is being distributed at selected events as part of the Water Be The Change campaign, a national campaign focusing on the conservation of Malta’s precious natural water resource, to further encourage us to shift to reusable water bottles.
Benefits when switching to reusable bottles
Living a plastic-free lifestyle is possible but it requires more effort from every one of us. Reducing our plastic waste can be achieved through simple habitual changes. We can drink healthily and remain hydrated by reusing water bottles.
Opting for reusable bottles can also be less expensive on a daily basis as most often, refilling a bottle with drinking water is cheaper than purchasing a new plastic water bottle.
Apart from the saving costs and reducing plastic waste generation, we need to also keep in mind the environmental benefits that this change in our habits can have on the environment.
Worldwide, eight million tons of plastic waste finds its way into the oceans every year, where it forms huge, ecosystem-disrupting garbage gyres and breaks down into dangerous microplastics that are taken up in the food chain.
Unfortunately in Malta, plastic bottles and their caps are some of the most common sorts of litter found in coastal areas, obviously to the detriment of the environment and all of us. The Mediterranean Sea and its beaches would surly be cleaner and happier places if bottle reuse becomes the norm.
Switching from using plastic bottled water to a reusable bottle is one small step, which each and every one of us can take, that can have a definite positive impact on our future.
Taking simple habitual steps can make a big difference to reducing plastic waste generation and help our environment today and in future years.
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