How Plastic Water Bottle Waste Affects The Environment

The production, consumption, and disposal of plastic water bottles around the world has had devastating impacts on the environment. Annually, 167 water bottles are disposed per person. One water bottle can take up to 450 years or more to decompose completely, which means for at least 450 years, that water bottle is affecting everything from marine life to farming soil to the health of human beings. Plastic waste from water bottles affects countless aspects of our ecosystem. It is imperative that plastic waste is reduced in order to prepare for a healthier future for ourselves and for the world as a whole. Here are a few of the ways in which waste from plastic water bottles harms the environment:

1. They are hazardous to human health.

Waste from plastic water bottles is hazardous to human health in both direct and indirect ways. Plastic bottles contain harmful chemicals, including BPA, which is then leeched from the bottle and into the water it contains. BPA is known to cause birth defects, abnormal hormonal activity, and certain types of cancers. Additionally, the chemicals and toxins leached from these plastic bottles sicken animals and marine life, which we then consume.

2. They add to the growing number of garbage patches in the ocean.

Throughout the world, garbage patches pepper the ocean, increasing in size as plastic waste is dumped into the sea. These garbage patches are collections of marine debris – most of which is made of plastic. Because plastic continues to break down into smaller and smaller pieces, these patches can look like cloudy whirlpools littered with billions of plastic pieces of varying sizes. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Trash Vortex, is split into two collections of debris and spans from the west coast of North America to Japan.

3. They end up in landfills.

Most of the water bottles consumed in the U.S. end up in massive landfills which currently hold about two million tons of water bottles alone. Water bottles that end up here can leak pollutants into our soil which turn into crops, which we then consume.

4. They devastate marine life.

Waste from plastic water bottles affects marine life in three main ways. First, toxins from the plastic itself contaminate the ocean water, which then infects sea life. Second, whole bottles or pieces of bottles can be swallowed or otherwise ingested causing serious, and sometimes fatal, damage. Third, plastic water bottles strangle marine life, and they die.

5. They pollute our air and ocean water.

Studies have shown that microscopic bits of plastic are present in the air in some locations and in oceans everywhere. As billions of water bottles are being dumped into landfills and oceans every year, the number of plastic particles in the environment will continue to grow.

6. They require mass amounts of resources to make and transport.

The production of one water bottle requires more water than it holds and uses more fossil fuels than it is worth. The obscene use of finite resources, as well as the questionable quality and safety of water bottle consumption, is enough to deem it extremely wasteful and harmful.

What can we do?

One of the most effective ways to stop this dangerous cycle is to reduce or, preferably, completely cut out plastic water bottle use. There are alternatives to plastic water bottles that are healthier for you and cheaper in the long run. That makes it a win for your body, your wallet, and the world you live in. These alternatives include a Kinetico K5 reverse osmosis drinking water system. Reverse osmosis is an advanced process that removes virtually every contaminant such as lead, arsenic, fluoride, chromium, solids, salts, heavy metals, nitrates, and nitrites (fertilizers), leaving behind the best-tasting, purified water available. Reverse osmosis systems can be installed in homes and businesses and is a safer and more environmentally responsible way to source your drinking. For more information, contact De Anza Water Conditioning at (408) 371-5521 or visit