Peering into the creek flowing next to Bambu Batu, I am happy to say that since we banned the plastic bag in the county, I see fewer flimsy pieces of trash floating in the water. However, I still see a ton of plastic water bottles nestled in the reeds and submerged in the mud. San Luis Obispo, look towards Concord, Massachusetts who as of the first of this year have officially ditched the single-use plastic water bottle. It is now illegal to sell any non-sparkling, unflavored beverage in a PET plastic container of sizes 1 liter or less. A first offense gets a warning, a second infraction levies a $25 fine, and the third will slap you with a $50 ticket.
Aside from being a huge eyesore when they appear in our neighborhoods and natural areas, plastic water bottles use a staggering amount of resources to produce, fill, and recycle. Activist group Ban the Bottle estimates that it takes 17 million barrels of oil a year to make the containers, enough petroleum to fuel 1.3 million cars. In 2007, Americans used a whopping 50 billion bottles, recycling only 23%. That means 38 billion bottles ended up in landfills.
In addition to wasting fossil fuels, activists are worried that the bottle water industry is having a negative impact on local community water tables. By draining aquifers, big companies take advantage of tax payer subsidized infrastructure only to sell back the water at a gigantic profit. Human health is also a concern, as many chemicals found in PET plastic have been shown to be harmful. For example, antimony, a component of polyethylene terephlalate plastics, has been shown to cause dizziness and depression in low doses, and and in high levels can cause anxiety, vomiting, and death.
Why not avoid the whole mess altogether and buy yourself a trusty reusable water bottle? Here at the store, we recommend our Bamboo Bottle or bamboo-topped Klean Kanteen. Make a statement, keep hydrated, and do you part to keep the Earth from becoming a plastic planet!