Have You Had Your Plastics Today?
“Over time a single plastic bottle can break up into over 10,000 pieces of microplastic.”
Plastic and Our Environment
A few weeks ago, Heather and I were visiting Long Beach and strolling down the beach after a storm. Every few 100 yards were piles of debris that had washed ashore. As we approached these piles, we were appalled at the amount of plastic that had been scooped into piles with the other debris that had washed up. Plastic water bottles, bottle caps, straws, cups, and plastic bags everywhere! It is one thing to read about this and another to experience it with your own eyes.
The effect of plastic on our environment has been documented and although we have an awareness of the problem it is getting worse not better. Plastic trash is littering the land and fouling rivers and oceans. But what we can see is only a small fraction of what's out there. Since modern plastic was first mass-produced, 9 billion tons have been manufactured. And when it's thrown away, it doesn't just disappear. Much of it crumbles into small pieces. Scientists call these tiny pieces microplastics which measure under 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) in length, about the size of a sesame seed or smaller.
Plastic is the most common form of rubbish found in the world's oceans, and microplastics are so small that they can evade methods for collecting or filtering plastic trash; studies have shown that microplastics are present in nearly every environment on Earth and can be found in many types of sea birds and marine life, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Even more concerning, microplastics are in drinking water, both bottled water and tap water.
Microplastic particles in bottled and tap water
Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at the State University of New York in Fredonia, conducted analysis of bottled waters from 19 locations in nine countries on five continents. As told to BBC News: "We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand." It's not about pointing fingers at particular brands; it's really showing that this is everywhere, that plastic has become such a pervasive material in our society, and it’s pervading water - all of these products that we consume at a very basic level."
A few Facts about Single use Plastics
1. Single-use-plastics frequently do not make it to a landfill or are recycled. A full 32% of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging produced annually is left to flow into our oceans; the equivalent of pouring one garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. This is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. By 2050, this could mean there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. Choosing to buy products with less packaging or no packaging altogether makes a big difference.
2. Even when single-use plastics are sent to landfills (there are 3,091 active landfills in the U.S. alone), they aren’t harmless. Landfill liners can leak harmful pollutants into the watershed and plastics on the tops of landfills can be carried away by the wind. The best way to curb single-use plastic pollution is to reduce your personal plastic consumption!
3. Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! That means by using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually. You can find more facts by clicking here.
Currently, 75% of us drink bottled water and over 1500 plastic bottles are in our landfills or oceans every second. We all want the healthiest water possible, then why would we package it in a potentially harmful substance that not only leaches chemicals but also minute particles of plastics into our bodies and our Environment.
"We found [plastic] in bottle after bottle and brand after brand."
Despite numerous reports that bottled water is challenging from both an economic and environmental standpoint, its popularity hasn't diminished. If you're a diehard water-drinker, and we all should be, investing in a quality filtration system and reusable bottle can cut down on how much you're spending, improve the quality of water that you are drinking, and you'll be helping Mother Earth in the process.
As self care advocates and Nikken representatives we recommend the Nikken Waterfall for home use and the Nikken Sports bottle for on the go. Drink half your body weight in ounces per day of healthy water and Be Healthy by Choice, not by Chance not only for yourself and family but for our planet too.