Reduce, reuse and refill plastic bottles

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While most of us simply ignored Earth Day and treated yesterday like any other Sunday, some small business and individuals took a stand to help save our planet from pollution and waste.

A bakery in Boston, 7ate9, announced to their customers that they would join several other businesses in signing Corporate Accountability International’s (CAI) pledge to “Think Outside the Bottle.”

The pledge points out several reasons why bottled water should be limited. From the energy spent transporting the bottled beverage, and “because worldwide there is a need for investments in public water systems to ensure equal access to water, a key ingredient for prosperity and health for all people; and because solutions to ensuring water as a fundamental human right require people acting together and standing up for public water systems.”

Those who sign the pledge agree to provide tap water rather than bottled beverages. This move demonstrates recognition of the serious problem of waste under the veil of convenience. 

Reaching beyond local businesses, CAI urges governments at all levels to sign their pledge, stating, “State governments are spending millions of taxpayer dollars each year to buy bottled water. Be it water coolers by the copier, or plastic bottles at state events, our elected leaders are choosing the bottle over the tap.” 

Of course, governments are not the only ones to blame. According to Container-recylcing.org, Americans buy close to 34.6 billion bottles of single serve beverages each year.

The startling part of this problem is these numbers are on the rise. Yes, consumers are becoming more aware of the problem and the need to recycle, but on the other hand, more products are being made available in bottles. 

Bottled water companies like Dasani are doing more to use less plastic in their bottles, but the green labels on their packages give the illusion that a “green bottle” can solve the problem.

Yes, it’s great that bottling companies are doing more to eliminate waste, but there is great need to push towards recycling and reusable bottles, not better disposable bottles. 

Coca-Cola offers refillable bottles in parts of South America, Europe and in other countries around the world. Refillable bottles are possible and practical — the problem remains in the lack of customer demand for such products. 

Bottled beverages may be convenient, but they are not worth the added costs in bank accounts or the environment. More individual students need to take a stand against bottled beverages and start carrying around refillable bottles rather than plastic.

A consumer push is the last step that needs be taken in this effort. Companies, governments and organizations are not going to change unless there is demand for it. Say no to waste and yes to savings. This is a small move that will have great impact on you and the world around you.

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