Addicted to Plastic

Written by Plant With Purpose on June 8, 2010 in General

By Jimmy Lee, Development Associate

This last Saturday, June 5th, was World Environment Day. World Environment Day is a day to celebrate and advocate for positive, environmental action. Here at Plant With Purpose, we like to think that every day is environment day.

Not only do we work with rural farmers in developing countries to restore and replenish the local environments that they depend on, we do our best to adopt as many eco-friendly lifestyle choices as we can here in the United States. In honor of World Environment Day, we’d like to share a post by guest blogger and former intern, Jimmy Lee, on his journey to decrease his environmental impact by limiting his use of plastic water bottles.
Addicted to Plastic by Jimmy Lee
I have a confession to make: I’m a serial water bottle user. And I’m talking about those 20oz bottles, which my family loves to purchase. It’s wasteful I know, and I’m embarrassed to admit our addiction. Did you know that in 2007, plastic bottle contributed to over 12% of landfill waste generated in the US1, and almost 70% of recyclable plastic water bottles are never recycled2? I’m embarrassed to say, we’ve become part of the statistics and not the solution. So why the serial water bottle use? Convenience. Habit. Which are probably the same reasons that many other serial water bottle users give. However, I’m proud to say, I’ve recently begun a process of change for a more sustainable and environmental friendly method of water consumption for my family. First of all, I’ve began using a reusable water bottle which I fill up with water whenever I can (water fountain at the gym, water cooler at the office…) thus decreasing my water bottle usage at home. I take my trusty water bottle everywhere I go now, which has not only decreased my water bottle usage but has also allowed me to have a healthier lifestyle by avoiding sugary sodas and juices during lunch. Second, I’ve begun boiling tap water for drinking purposes at home. To get rid of the tap water taste, I sometimes add a bit of barley tea before cooling it, which is perfect for the San Diego summer. Third, by not only purchasing less water from stores, our family now prefers to buy water sold in bigger containers. Although I don’t think my family will ever be able to phase out the habit of purchasing water, we can definitely try our best to decrease the consumption of plastic bottles as much as possible.
For fun (well, my definition of fun), I’ve gone ahead and calculated the amount of plastic bottles I would be saving if I could go completely bottle-less: Let’s say that I would consume an average of ten 20oz plastic bottles each week, and each 20oz plastic bottle is about 24 grams in weight3. That would mean that I would generate about 240g of plastic per week and about 87.6kg of plastic per year, which is about 1.2 more than my weight. If I don’t change my ways, I would be consuming more than my body-weight in plastic bottles each year!
Statistics aside, I’m thankful for being in a part of the world where safe and fresh water is readily available to my family. And also thankful that Plant With Purpose works in many countries where people may not have readily available access to fresh water like we do. If you want to find out more about the various water sanitation and water management projects that Plant With Purpose has been involved with in other countries, please check out our Outreach Coordinator’s blog post from International World Water Day this past March: Recycling InstituteState of CA – Department of ConservationReduce. Reuse. Recycle.

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