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Drinking enough water is an important part of everyday life. However, when the water comes from water bottles, we need to make sure that the manufacturing process comes full cycle and that those bottles are recycled. Otherwise, the plastic could end up in our environment and impact future generations.
Plastic Water Bottle Recycling in the U.S.
In 2016 alone, 2,906 million pounds of plastic bottles were collected for recycling purposes, according to a report by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). That number seems high, and it is—except that it is a lot lower than just the year before.
That ACC and APR’s report found that in 2016 (compared to 2015):
- The total plastic bottle recycling collection rate decreased 1.4%.
- The total pounds of plastic bottles collected decreased by 71 million pounds.
- PET bottles collected decreased by 44 million pounds.
- High density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles collected decreased by 31.7 million pounds.
- The processing of recycled PET bottles decreased by 11 million pounds.
- The processing of recycled HDPE decreased by 42 million pounds.
Clearly, despite all that is known about plastic recycling and the health of the environment, perhaps due in some part to economic factors, people just weren’t recycling as much in 2016. But as time goes on, that’s no longer acceptable. There are many reasons why recycling your plastic water bottles is important.
Increasing Positive Impacts
Resource Conservation: Help conserve natural resources by recycling plastic water bottles. Oil, a nonrenewable natural resource, is one such resource eaten up by the plastic production process notes Live Strong. Additionally, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), producing new plastic from recycled materials uses only two-thirds of the energy needed to make it from raw materials. So, using recycled saves 33% of the materials that would have been used otherwise.
Energy Conservation: Recycling plastic bottles is more than just the physical plastic, it’s also about the energy used to make or reuse it. According to Live Strong, the recycling process uses less energy than raw material manufacturing, which significantly reduces traditional power grid strain.
Creating New Jobs: Millions of people work in the recycling industry every year, according to The Earth Project. They report that the numbers of employed—everyone from the label designers to facility operators—are continuing to grow. For every one waste management job, there are four in recycling, according to The Earth Project. Recycling helps not only the environment, but also the people in it.
Reducing Negative Impacts
Waste: Not only is landfill space limited, but the ways in which landfills are constructed does not allow for much of anything, not to mention plastics, biodegrade. The U.S. EPA notes that plastics require between 100 and 400 years to break down in a landfill. According to Live Strong, recycling water bottles helps to conserve space that can be used by other waste.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The plastic manufacturing process creates greenhouse gases, according to The Earth Project. However, recycling needs less fossil fuels and energy, which reduces carbon emission. The Earth Project also notes that reducing greenhouse gas emission is also a way positively impact global warming.
Our 5 gallon water coolers take the guess work out – We make it easy and convenient for you to get your water in without creating all that waste. We also know that life gets busy and sometimes you need to grab a bottle of water on the go. Recycling these plastic water bottles is a good choice for so many reasons: conserving resources, conserving energy, creating more jobs and reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Even more, recycling plastic water bottles is the responsible thing to do—for the world environment and those that live in it. So, don’t forget to recycle your plastic bottles the next time you finish off a drink. The environment and future generations thank you.
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