Truckee California is one of the few cities in the United States that relies solely on clean, untreated water from natural aquifers, making the tap water here purer than bottled water (TDPUD). However we have estimated, taking data from local stores, that approximately 1,000,000 individual single-use plastic water bottles are sold annually. This number has a stronger connotation than just its value. It is a devastation to our environment, our health, and our local economy.
The damage we cause to our environment now by using single-use plastic water bottles will be irreparable for the future. In the United States, only 23% of plastic bottles are recycled. That means, the other 77% go straight to the landfill where they take over 1,000 years to decompose (Ban the Bottle). It is also estimated that 8,000,000 tons of plastics are dumped into the ocean annually so that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Living in California we are familiar with draught and should be distraught that it takes roughly three times the amount of water in the bottle to produce the bottle itself. The bottled water industry uses over 17,000,000 barrels of oil and releases 2,500,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the air annually (Pacific Institute). This should be disturbing.
Almost all of the disposable plastic water bottles in our stores are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polycarbonate (PC). PET is also referred to as type one plastic which contains the carcinogen, antimony trioxide, more commonly known as fire retardant. This carcinogen leaks into the water due to the porous nature of the plastic and even more so when exposed to heat. The porous nature of the plastic is also conducive to bacteria breeding in the water. If the bottle is made from PC, type seven plastic, you are being exposed to harmful amounts Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA. This is a much more dangerous carcinogen and is recommended to be avoided (Hoa H. Lee, Emily M. Carlson, Jason P. Chua, and Scott M. Belcher). If this isn’t enough deterrent, the World Health Organization recently published that all single use plastic water bottles contains particles of plastic with in them (WHO).
If bought in individual bottles, a gallon of bottled water costs around $7.50. This is nearly 2,000 times more expensive than tap water which costs around $.004 per gallon. The average American drinks about 22 gallons of water from single-use plastic bottles annually, meaning they are spending an extra $165 per year in water (Matthew Boesler). If single-use plastic water bottles were eliminated from Truckee, the community would save $2,704,515 annually.
Change starts small. Be apart of the initiative to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles from our town. Take the pledge to keep Truckee green and clean by supporting the ban on single-use plastic water bottles.