Plastic Water Bottle Facts

 Photo of plastic water bottle pollution

50 Shocking Plastic Water Bottle Facts

Why do we do what we do? We believe we should dramatically reduce the use of plastic water bottles immediately due to the devastating impact they have on our environment.

This article is our compilation of 50 key plastic water bottle facts.

The article compiles information from a wealth of resources across the web and beyond and links to each one individually. The devastating impact of plastic pollution and specifically plastic bottled water on land and in the ocean cannot be understated. 

These recycling and pollution facts will go some way in illustrating our severe the issue is.

If you do one thing after reading this, please stop buying plastic bottled water. Buy a reusable glass bottle instead. It is a far healthier option and much kinder to the planet.

They are available in all major retailers and we also have some available on our site here.

You can make a difference. 

The Facts

Fact # 1:

Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. - Source

Fact # 2:

Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs don’t biodegrade they photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller fragments over time. - Source 

Fact # 3:

The NRDC conducted a comprehensive four-year scientific study of 1,000 brands of bottled water. The results showed that one third of the bottled waters violated their own industry standards for water quality. - Source

Fact # 4:

The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $0.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400. - Source

Fact # 5:

Over time, plastic breaks down into tiny particles called micro-plastics, which are found on shorelines around the world. - Source

Fact # 6:

Out of the 50 billion bottles of water being bought each year, 80% end up in a landfill, even though recycling programs exist. - Source

Fact # 7:

It takes a fleet of 40,000 18-wheelers just to deliver our bottle water every week! - Source

Fact # 8:

It requires 3 times the amount of water to produce a plastic bottle than it does to fill it. - Source

Fact # 9:

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, while researchers believe the amount of ocean plastic will be 10 times greater by 2020. - Source

Fact # 10:

Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. - Source

Fact # 11:

U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone. - Source

Fact # 12:

In the United States, 24 percent of bottled water sold is either Pepsi’s Aquafina (13 percent of the market) or Coke’s Dasani (11 percent of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water. - Fishman, Charles. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine July 2007: 110.

Fact # 13:

1500 is the number of plastic water bottles consumed EVERY SECOND in the US. - Source

Fact # 14:

Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. - Source

Fact # 15:

Plastic water bottles can take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose. - Source

Fact # 16:

Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year. - Fishman, Charles. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine July 2007: 110.

Fact # 17:

According to the Ocean Conservatory, plastic bottles and plastic bags are the most prevalent form of pollution found on our beaches and in our oceans — every square mile of the ocean has over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it. - Source

Fact # 18:

Plos One, a scientific journal, estimates that five trillion pieces of plastic, weighing more than 250,000 metric tons, is afloat in oceans. - Source

Fact # 19:

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California and is the largest ocean garbage site in the world. This floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas, with plastic pieces outnumbering sea life six to one. - Source

Fact # 20:

There are now millions of tons of plastic in the environment, including water bottles, so if you stop using them or reduce their use, fewer will wind up in places they should not be, like in rivers, lakes, and oceans. - Source

Photo of plastic water bottles in ocean

Fact # 21:

Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, told The New York Times that “there is no reason to believe that bottled water is safer than tap water.” - Burros, Marian. “Fighting the Tide, a Few Restaurants Tilt to Tap Water.” The New York Times 30 May 2007

Fact # 22:

The EPA, which requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and makes results available to the public. The FDA, which regulates bottled water, only requires weekly testing and does not share its findings with the EPA or the public. - Burros, Marian. “Fighting the Tide, a Few Restaurants Tilt to Tap Water.” The New York Times 30 May 2007

Fact # 23:

14% of all litter comes from beverage containers. When caps and labels are considered, the number is higher. - Source

Fact # 24:

The energy used to manufacture bottled water can power 190,000 homes. - Source

Fact # 25:

Each year, about 25 million dollars is spent in the state of California to dispose of plastic waste in landfills. - Source

Fact # 26:

Pollution is estimated to be one of the biggest causes of death around the world, affecting more than 100 million people per year, more than epidemics like Malaria and HIV. - Source

Fact # 27:

The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world's oil production. - Source

Fact # 28:

Bottled water costs over 1,000+ times more than tap water. - Source

Fact # 29:

Only a very small percentage of recycled bottles are used to make new bottles. Coca-Cola sources only 7% of its plastic from recycled material, while Nestle Waters North America uses just 6% recycled contact. - Source

Fact # 30:

Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate. - Source

Fact # 31:

46 percent of plastics float and it can drift for years before eventually concentrating in the ocean gyres. - Source

Fact # 32:

Did you know that up to 47.8 percent of the bottled water we buy is actually just repackaged tap water? - Source

Fact # 33:

Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects. - Source

Fact # 34:

Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. And that’s not even including the oil used for transportation. - Pacific Institute. “Fact Sheet: Bottled Water and Energy – Getting to 17 Million Barrels.” December 2007.

Fact # 35:

Almost 8 million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans annually, according to a 2015 study from UC Santa Barbara. - Source

Fact # 36:

Though less than five percent of the world’s population, the USA consumes more than 25 percent of the resources and produce 30 percent of the trash and environmental pollutants. - Source

Fact # 37:

More than 100 million plastic bottles are used worldwide every day. - Source

Fact # 38:

Birds, mammals, and sea turtles sometimes ingest bottle caps they encounter in the wild, and are injured or die. - Source

Fact # 39:

Plastic water bottles release toxic chemicals when they decompose. - Source

Fact # 40:

Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments that pieces of plastic from a one liter bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world. - Source

Image of Albatross bird carcass filled with plastic bottle lids and debris

Photo of dead Albatross filled with plastic by Chris Jordan (via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters) / CC BY 2.0

Fact # 41:

Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical). - Source

Fact # 42:

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. - Source

Fact # 43:

Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated). - Source

Fact # 44:

The Earth Policy Institute factors the energy used to pump, process, transport and refrigerate our bottled water as over 50 million barrels of oil every year.  - Source 

Fact # 45:

National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) says, in 2011, there were 5,478 million pounds of PET jars and bottles available for recycling, but only 29 percent of that was recycled. - Source

Fact # 46:

In samples collected in Lake Erie, 85 percent of the plastic particles were smaller than two-tenths of an inch, and much of that was microscopic. Researchers found 1,500 and 1.7 million of these particles per square mile. - Source

Fact # 47:

Plastic is listed as the number one threat to our marine ecosystem. - Source

Fact # 48:

44 percent of all seabird species, 22 percent of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies. - Source

Fact # 49:

More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year. - Source

Fact # 50:

New York city has the safest, cleanest tap water in the whole country, and San Francisco draws its public drinking water supply from nearby Yosemite National Park, so pure they don’t even require it to be filtered. - Source

 

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