Should you use plastic bottles?


Photo via Flickr under the creative commons license

Photo taken from Myrtle Beach of all the water bottles that go in and out of the beach

About 100.7 billion bottles of water are purchased annually in the US. That’s 315 bottles per person. Photo Via Steven Depolo on under the creative commons license

With the combustion of fossil fuels causing greenhouse gases to enter the atmosphere, many have been trying to reduce their carbon footprint and an easy way to do that is to stop the use of bottled water.

It’s plastic and plastic is bad;  therefore, plastic bottles are bad, but there are still pros to plastic bottles that many overlook.

According to, plastic is a lot more recyclable than metal or glass.  There’s also a lower manufacturing cost, and so as long as it is getting recycled, plastic is better. It’s also a lot more convenient than other bottles because a person doesn’t have to bring a bottle with them. One can find a bottle of water anywhere.

Plastic also has a better appearance because of the malleability of it. Manufacturers can form the plastic into many different shapes making them look a lot smoother. It’s also great for natural disasters because it is easy to store and has a very long shelf life. One can hold onto bottled water for a long time, so in cases such as what happened in Flint, Michigan, it can save a lot of lives.  It saves lives because it is easy access to safe water when it’s not available from the tap. Also, there have been a lot more contaminations of public water than in bottled water. Bottled water rarely gets recalled, but public water can be a genuine danger to the consumers.

The plastic island in the pacific ocean is over 1.6 million square KM
Photo via

There are plenty of cons to plastic bottles that make them not worth the benefits to many people. A lot of bottled water is taken from places that need it such as California. This means that when California is in a drought and doesn’t have enough water, they are advised to go buy bottled water, which was already in their water supply, that got taken to bottle water.

According to, in the U.S. alone 60%-70% of water bottles don’t get recycled. It doesn’t matter how efficient it is to recycle bottles when the majority isn’t getting recycled, and despite it being efficient to produce and recycle, it still uses 17 million barrels of oil to produce annually.

Plastic bottles may be more efficient, but they are still a huge problem with the environment, and if everyone used the same metal bottle for a while rather than drinking from plastic ones, it would reduce oil consumption by a large margin.

The price is also a huge problem with bottled water. Tap water costs you about .2 cents per gallon on average, meanwhile, an Aquafina costs about $11.46 per gallon. This is 5,728 times the cost. Also there is BPA in plastic bottles which has been shown to lead to problems with pregnancy and infertility issues. Not only is bottled water harmful, but it’s really just pointless because most bottled water is no different than the water from the tap.

Bottled water is highly convenient, but despite the pros it doesn’t outweigh the cons. If humanity truly wishes to reduce its carbon footprint, then it needs to stop using plastic bottles as much as it does.  In necessary cases where bottled water needs to be used, then they must be recycled.  People need to make sure the plastic bottles are actually going to the recycling center rather than a landfill somewhere.

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