Plastic Terrifies Me: The Case for The Steel Water Bottle

 

Every year 50 billion bottles of water are bought in the U.S. alone. That is 150 plastic water bottles every second. This costs 17 million barrels of oil to produce and that does not consider the transportation costs. That is a colossal amount of plastic.

While waiting for class to start in college, I would read this book of short stories from this paperback that was required for one of my classes. This $25 book was not used a single time in said class, but it was perfect for quick reads so I guess it wasn’t a total loss. Years later, one chapter has stuck with me. I forget the name of the book, but can’t forget the section on plastic. From the astonishing amount of plastic in everything we use and discard, to the effects of plastic on the environment and our bodies, this book painted a frightening picture. Few give it a second thought beyond how wasteful it is and how Captain Planet would scold us but for those who do research, plastic is absolutely terrifying.

One company whose name I won’t sully was so bold that they named themselves after what they thought of their customers, which is naïve. They were so sure that no one would be naïve enough to buy bottled water when you could get it for nearly free from your tap. Fast forward to today, or 2016, and it is a $16 billion-dollar industry.

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What are the negative effects of plastic on the human body?

Most of you have likely heard the term BPA as it is one of those scary acronyms we sometimes try to avoid but how many of us know what it is? BPA, or Bisphenol-A can be defined by a long description laced with science words like hydroxyphenyl and organic. One of those two words is scarier than the other. We often fear the unknown. BPA is a compound that the FDA deemed inappropriate for baby bottles and only appropriate for adults at “certain levels.” This compound is most commonly found in plastics such as water bottles. Europe lists it as a substance of very high concern since it is an endocrine disruptor. Which basically means it can disrupt your hormone system which can lead to birth defects or tumors. This is getting into theoretical science at this point, but there are concerns, which apparently are high in Europe, that it may lead to other serious issues such as learning disabilities, feminization of males or masculinizing females, cancer and obesity. So drinking water could lead to obesity? Well, possibly if you are drinking water leeched with BPA. I was convinced at the feminization part and now drink from a stainless-steel water bottle.

What about the negative effects of plastic on environment?

Unfortunately, the nightmare doesn’t end there. It also affects the environment and fish in particular. As marine organisms go through the food chain, the amount of chemicals from plastic accumulate eventually to be eaten by humans. Going vegan is starting to sound a little less crazy now, isn’t it? Did you know that plastic takes about 1,000 years to degrade? And for decades we just dump it in the ground or oceans or by the side of the road. I don’t need to even talk about the infamous garbage island in the Pacific Ocean, but you are welcome to search for it if you are unaware. We are creating problems for several future generations to solve. I have faith in humanity though as I am starting to see little changes and over time, little changes produce big results. We can reduce the amount of plastic in our biome, and probably improve our own health while we do it.

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Hope and Change

Enter the stainless-steel water bottle. This needs to become a part of everyone’s EDC or Every Day Carry, along with the wallet, keys and phone. I carry one with me just about everywhere I go, including at home. By keeping a water on me all the time, I make more conscientious decisions. If I am running errands and get thirsty, I am no longer tempted to buy a water or worse: soda. Cutting down on soda consumption is huge but what is much more important is this reduces the amount of plastic waste we produce. And if you are drinking as much water as is recommended, it becomes an astonishing amount of waste. They keep the water cold longer too. This will save you money in the long run. Instead of a couple bucks here and there on plastic water bottles, you can fill it up with tap water which is virtually free. Some of these are pretty stylish too. I am especially fond of the bottles with this awesome logo on it. This might be the easiest little change you make, but together, its effects can change the world.