Stopping Pollution One Drink at a Time
Pollution is one of the biggest crises facing our planet today, and it isn’t going away any time soon.
Among the many materials contributing to global pollution is plastics, which we’ve seen multiply in popularity over the past 100 years as a cheaper, more easily-produced substance that quickly became used for myriad objects, from the smallest toys to the largest urban development projects. As plastics continuously displace other materials such as glass, wood, and paper, the plastic industry has become more prominent, and, along with it, so has plastic pollution.
Unfortunately for us and our environment, plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose, meaning that many of the world’s dumps, beaches, and waterways are filled with the stuff. What’s worse, we aren’t necessarily talking large pieces of plastic that can be easily removed, but rather micro-debris that pollutes many ecosystems on enormous scales, harming nature, animals, and humans along the way.
One of the most common causes of plastic pollution is water bottles, which are typically designed for a single use before being thrown away (if not recycled). Hoping to start fighting back against this particularly wasteful and ultimately devastating trend, Icelandic design student Ari Jónsson came up with a new water bottle design that could dramatically cut down on pollution.
Here’s how it works…
Meet the Water Bottle of the Future
At first glance, this looks like your run of the mill water bottle. In reality, this could be the bottle to end all bottles, that is, all plastic bottles.
In fact, it’s not plastic at all. Instead, it’s 100% natural and 100% biodegradable.
According to Ban the Bottle, Americans use about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year, but only 23% of them get properly recycled. Creating all of this plastic calls for some 17 million barrels of oil, precious energy that could be used to fuel cars and power homes instead of making wasteful plastic.
Not only is this a waste of resources, but it carries an enormous financial cost as well. The total value of water bottles that end up in American dumps instead of being recycled comes out to more than $1 billion. Even before recycling and waste come into the picture, the cost of the water alone is appalling:
The daily recommended amount of eight glasses of water costs only about $.49 per year at U.S. tap water rates, compared with about $1,400 in plastic water bottles. The choice seems obvious, no?