Of course you need to have safe drinking water for you and your family, but if you do, this one simple change can make a huge difference.

Food Packaging

In 1973, a mechanical engineer called Nathaniel Wyeth got the patent for PET bottles, which was capable of containing carbonated beverages without the risk of explosions. This invention had a revolutionary scope, also closely observed by the oil industry (given that PET bottles require oil in their production process, about 10% of its capacity) and by big brands, which found a new market to utilize.

Today food packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of total packaging waste by volume and PET and PETE have become one of the most popular food container material (it is used for ketchup, soft drinks, water etc.) since they are cheap to produce, very versatile and also easy to transport. Although from a business point of view PET is a great invention for the beverage industry for example, the expansion of its use has generated a “sea” of problems.

Only in the United States: we use over 79 million plastic bottles every day

What happens to these bottles? Apparently, only about 30% of plastic bottles are actually recycled but surprisingly, even the recycled bottles are usually not made into plastic bottles again, they are downcycled into lower quality materials. The bottles which weren’t recycled are either incinerated, buried in landfills or they end up in the ocean. Either way, 79 million bottles are newly produced every single day. Considering that a regular PET bottle has an estimated life expectancy of a thousand years, the plastic waste we generate today will also mean a problem for the future generations.

What can we do? Drink tap Water!

According to the EPA, our number one goal should be to reduce the amount of plastic we buy. We should all consider what is plastics we can eliminate and with this, we reduce our toxic waste and also save resources. A first step we can do is to stop buying bottled water. 90% of Americans have access to clean tap water that meets all health standards, so how come the national average of bottled water consumption is 36.5 gallons per year. Want to know more? Take a look at the this infographic to see how helpful it would be for you and for the environment if you do this one simple thing — drink tap water! It is such an easy change, but it still means so much.

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Molly Connell DrGreene.com contributor