The Reason For Purchase

Survey Questions (results based on 30 random locals):

Why do you purchase disposable plastic water bottles?

When asked this question, there were a few different answers to choose from. Locals selected from answers including the following: low price, convenience/accessibility, and facility of disposal being three of them.

Diagram 1: Why are consumers buying disposable water bottles (click to expand)

Diagram 1: Why are consumers buying disposable water bottles (click to expand)

It’s gratifying to know from the previous survey question that, in general, most locals in Ottawa will choose metal/reusable plastic water bottles over disposable ones. But that doesn’t mean no one buys them: from the data collected, 17 of the 30 people chose convenience/accessibility as the primary reason they would stop to buy a disposable plastic water bottle – in all, just over 56% of the sample.

The problem is, it makes perfect sense. In a society where environmental issues are growing slowly each day and becoming more prominent for most people, many more people are doing their best to be helpful towards the environment. Whether it’s through hybrid cars, reusable grocery bags, or simply a conscious effort to reduce energy consumption within a household, most Ottawa citizens have no problem with changing habits to go green.

However, that doesn’t mean the environment has suddenly become the most important thing for everyone today. While it is an issue that surrounds us today, the reminder to be eco-friendly is not normally a constant thing. This means that when they are not face to face with the facts about environmental damage from plastic water bottles, it can be easy to forget the harm.

This brings me back to the ultimate point: why convenience is the reason people choose to buy plastic water bottles. Although people try hard to do their best, personal comfort is usually more important. So when anyone happens to forget a metal water bottle, chances are they will choose to go for the disposable plastic bottles as a quick fix for thirst. As they are accessible just about everywhere nowadays, they are extremely convenient for us, and therefore are the main cause for the consumption of disposable plastic water bottles.

To reduce this, we should strive as a community to promote other, more eco-friendly water bottles. By raising awareness, making steel bottles more accessible, and trying to discourage the use of disposable plastic water bottles, there is a high chance the results might differ later in the future.

Other choices selected were ‘low price’, at 2 people out of 30, ‘facility of disposal’, at 1 person out of 30, and ‘all of the above’ at 2 out of 30 people.

From this, I determine that for the most part, facility of disposal is not a common reason for purchase due to the awareness of environmental damage from merely tossing a bottle after use. I also believe that, as only 2 people chose the low price as a reason, most people are aware that over time, the cost of tap water is significantly less than bottled water. However, as 2 people chose ‘all of the above’, I think there are also those who outweigh the environment in favour of personal needs – luckily, however, it appears to be only a fraction of the total population.

I conclude from the results that, in general, many local citizens are at least somewhat aware of the harms of disposable plastic water bottles – although perhaps not how serious they are – and that with more effort towards promoting alternatives to these products, the overall use of plastic water bottles could be decreased in time.


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