water bottles

Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at dhruvika@buzzonearth.com. Sometimes she reads her emails too.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Bottled water is an amazing source of clean water. Isn’t it? It’s available on the market everywhere. One can’t take the chance of drinking normal water which is most likely to be contaminated with impurities and pollution. But have you ever wondered from where do these plastic water bottles come from and after 15 minutes of average use, what exactly happens to them? Does it get recycled? Far from it!

water bottles


How is it Made?

The plastic used in bottles used for packaging water and drinks is usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is a polymer which comes from petroleum hydrocarbons. PET is polymerised carefully to manufacture plastic which is then molded into bottles.

Bottled water first hit the markets in 1940 and since the petrochemical materials take hundreds of years to decompose, most of these water bottles, with or without water, still exist on the planet.

Surprisingly, the PET is fully recyclable. The bottles can be remade with the same plastic material called RPet. But the majority of brands refuse it just because they can’t compromise the shiny and perfect look of the bottles. 


Where does These Water Bottles end up?

They do get recycled but only around 7% of the ones collected for recycling actually get recycled. Brands do not want to invest in collecting and sorting bottles and people are just not interested in it.

Most of the water bottles end up in landfills and the ocean. The US is the biggest consumer of plastic bottles and their massive amount of plastic along with the plastic from other countries has resulted in a huge patch of garbage in the mid-ocean, called the great pacific garbage patch.

The developed countries often ship their waste to other countries like China, India, Indonesia etc. The imported waste along with the country’s own waste generally end up in huge mountains of trash in isolated areas. The poor people work hard to sort the trash for recycling or burning with bare hands and feet.

The sea animals and birds also suffer extensively due to plastic in the water. Many species are on the verge of extinction due to choking on plastic materials.

water bottles


Make-Believe

Bottled water is definitely a source of clean drinking water, but it’s overhyped. The beautiful mountain, springs and flowery views on the cover of water bottles with slogans like ‘with extra oxygen’, ‘highly refreshing water’, ‘extra minerals’ are all there to deceive the eye. The truth that the water bottles companies don’t want you to know is that it’s just filtered tap water.

water bottles

The water companies you trust and their advertisements playing on repeat claiming that tap water is unsafe and causes tons of diseases are the same companies who just sell us that same water with price 2000 fold.

That’s just result of the manufactured demand. To boost their sale, water companies, which earlier were just soda companies, pressed on how the local water is unfit for drinking. They invested huge amounts of money on advertisements.

You won’t believe something like that if you see it somewhere in a newspaper or a pamphlet, but if it appears on the TV commercial every few minutes, the mind is compelled to acknowledge it and ultimately starts getting scared if the water pollution is getting to them and those nasty invisible bacterias might be dancing around in their drinking water. The result? More bottled water from ‘pristine natural springs’.

Although the quality of tap water is good in the US, many countries do not have access to safe water. Poor water management systems and immense water pollution have made the clean water not so clean anymore. The dissolved solids in the water are in high quantity and make it unsafe to drink.


Every second, 20,000 plastic bottles are bought worldwide. Studies predict that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fishes. The amount of plastic water bottles used in the US in a week is enough to circle the globe more than 5 times. Moreover, the amount you pay for bottled water is mostly for the bottle, not water. Water doesn’t expire, the bottle does.

Recycling and reusing can help the situation, but the reduction is the accurate solution. Reduce the use of plastic throwaway bottles. Make sure you carry your own bottle or container whenever you’re heading out. Keep water filters at home.

The world needs to move away from plastic and the best way to start is by avoiding bottled water. Let not anyone sell you something which should be free. What will they sell next? Air?

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