Survey Questions (results based on 30 random locals):
Do you reuse the water bottle after initial consumption before disposal?
How does your household dispose of plastic water bottles after use?
When answering the first question, more people chose to reuse a disposable plastic water bottle after initial consumption. In terms of actual numbers, 16 of the 30 surveyed chose yes making it just over 50%, and 10 chose not to reuse them – a total of 33%. The remaining 4 people said it would depend on the circumstances at the time.
The problem is mainly in the 33% who said they would not use the water bottle again after initial use. The issue isn’t that they wouldn’t do it because they don’t care about the environment: the issue is that, in some cases, that’s the healthier option. Certain plastic types which compose disposable bottles of water have toxins in them that, as well as affecting the environment when thrown into waterways and oceans, can also be unsafe for humans after multiple use.
People don’t want to take the chance with their health in assuming that it will be okay to use the bottle again – even if reusing it a few times is slightly more environmentally friendly. While they are perfectly right in looking out for their health, the problem is that people still buy the bottles anyway. Even if they don’t want to use it again a third or fourth time, they will still buy them for the one-time use before tossing them.
The best way to deal with this issue is, once again, to promote other methods of drinking water in a healthy manner: for you, and the Earth. Instead of just encouraging people to recycle their bottles, we need to put forth the idea of simply not buying them at all – or at least as little as possible.
As for the second question, once again the results showed that more people of the 30 were more environmentally friendly, with 23 of the 30 choosing to recycle the bottles and only 1 throwing them out. The remaining 6 alternated depending on the accessibility at the time. 23 of 30 is only 76% of the entire amount surveyed. With changes in the future, it is likely that the 20% who would recycle if possible and throw out whenever easiest might start to realize that in the long run, a huge difference could be made.
With the current statistics of plastic bottles being left to degrade in landfills and oceans over the next seven centuries or so, people need to know that the few seconds of time and effort they may save for themselves by tossing a plastic water bottles can have an effect that lasts generations. It isn’t a huge problem to hold on to a bottle just a few minutes longer until you can reach a recycling bin, and that brings me to the next point.
As a community, a huge problem commonly discussed is litter on the streets. But right now, it is equally if not more important to focus on the issue of recycling: making it an accessible option that is convenient for everyone. Hopefully, if changes like this can be made in the future the last 20% will change their answers to ‘recycling’ over ‘both’.
Each question shows that, in general, more people are willing to do the green thing and both reuse the bottle as well as responsibly dispose of them later: in this case, through recycling. But the problem lies more in the people who chose the third option for the second question. Keeping in mind the importance of preserving the environment for the next generation, I think it is an issue that should be addressed more frequently to raise the number of people doing the greener thing.