Being convenient enough for everyday use and even tasting better to some, plastic bottles are a popular way of consuming beverages. They are convenient and to some people, can even taste better. However, the process of manufacturing and transporting the millions of bottles produced is detrimental to the environment. Continued use of plastic bottles could exponentially hurt the planet.
Given all the negative effects that come from plastic, why are people still participating in this poisonous cycle? Some claim that bottled water simply tastes better than water from the tap whether they prefer spring, purified, distilled, or mineral water. Most people just appreciate the convenience bottled water offers; it’s easier to carry little bottles that one can throw away instead of larger reusable bottles that need to be brought home at the end of the day. Also, bottled water comes in big “value packs” in most stores, which is beneficial for large group events and big families.
Water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics that don’t biodegrade, but they are completely recyclable. PETs photo degrade, they break down into smaller fragments over time. These fragments absorb all the toxins that pollute waterways, contaminate soil, and sicken animals (which are then consumed). The plastic trash also absorbs organic pollutants such as BPA. They take centuries to decompose while sitting in landfills, amounting to billions of environmentally poisonous time bombs.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound used to create polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are found in a wide range of products, but food and drink containers are the most concerning. Most people fear that BPA will have negative effects on their health, such as reproductive issues and cancer. Though it’s been discovered that humans would have to ingest over one thousand pounds of something food/drink held in a container made with BPA every day to severely make an impact, there is still a “low-dose” concern. BPA mimics the estrogen hormone and can affect the endocrine system. It mainly affects bodies in development, such as a fetus in the womb or in early childhood, linked to neurobehavioral problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. It can also cause diseases and cancers, and it interferes with chemotherapy for breast cancer patients, making the treatment less effective (Musson).
BPA isn’t the only way plastic bottles can harm the body though. Chemicals can leech into the water as well, but bacteria can also become a factor. Plastic bottles aren’t made for repetitive use, and bacteria will increase with each re-use. The shape of the bottles also increases the probability of bacteria growth. Some people feel they should refill a bottle after each use for a while, but this can hurt the body more than the little bit of conservation going on.
Recycling benefits the environment by gathering materials that will be thrown...