As we head into summer, we need to think about hydration and how we use plastic. Each year, United States citizens use about 50 billion plastic water bottles. Only approximately 33% of those bottles are recycled. The rest are discarded, potentially ending up in our waterways, breaking down into microparticles to pollute our drinking water and turn up in our diets. If they are burned the air is polluted.
We can do better. Many types of metal containers and thermoses are available to fill and refill with beverages. There are reusable bottles for kids and adults. Water can be filtered at home if there are concerns about purity. Keeping a container of water handy is easy, now that we have drink holders in cars, on bikes and on strollers.
We can also advocate for a federal returnable bottle deposit. In 2020, Michigan was one of only 11 states with a returnable bottle deposit on other drink bottles and cans. According to Wikipedia, “The United States’ overall beverage container recycling rate is approximately 33%, while states with container deposit laws have a 70% average rate of beverage container recycling. Michigan’s recycling rate of 97% from 1990 to 2008 was the highest in the nation, as is its $0.10 deposit. Studies also show that beverage container legislation has reduced total roadside litter by between 30% and 64% in the states with bottle bills.”
Stay hydrated responsibly and have a wonderful summer!