Our plastic bottle addiction
Did you know that the average person in the UK will use 150 plastic water bottles every year? This actually goes up in London to 175 plastic bottles per person, per year. That’s 7.7 billion plastic water bottles across the year.
What’s more – that’s just plastic water bottles. If you include all the other types of plastic bottles that UK households use then that figure rises to 13 billion plastic bottles being used each year. This includes thinks like milk bottles, soft drinks bottles and also toiletries like shampoo and shower gel bottles. That’s a staggering amount of plastic we’re using – just for bottles.
The impact on the planet
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop there. The UK only recycles around 57% of these bottles. That means a huge 5.5 billion plastic bottles aren’t being recycled, and end up being littered, dumped in landfill or incinerated. That’s definitely bad news for the environment because it means that these bottles ending up in landfill or being incinerated generate approximately 233,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions a year.
The latest figures estimate that 700,000 plastic drinks bottles and containers are littered every single day in the UK. That’s a mind blowing 234 million plastic bottles being littered in the UK each year. Not only is it cluttering up our towns, cities and countryside, but it also poses a very real threat to wildlife.
Plastic bottles in our waters
The chances are that if you’ve been to the beach lately, or walked along a river or canal, you’ll have spotted a bottle bobbing about in the water. It’s estimated that around a third of all marine plastic pollution is from drinks bottles and containers. The #OneLess Campaign has also found that around 10% of litter in the River Thames is plastic bottles.
Moving past the numbers, what’s the actual impact is all this plastic having on our marine life? Things like bottle caps are often mistaken for food, and can be eaten by birds and fish – killing them as the plastics build up in their stomachs, and plastic ends up in the food chain in this way too. Bottles themselves can float endlessly and contribute to oceanic garbage patches, or become habitats for smaller ocean life.
In fact, plastic has been found in nearly every level of the oceanic food chain – from whales and sharks, to seabirds and turtles, right down to plankton.
Making the plastic-free change
If everything above sounds all doom and gloom, try not to be too disheartened. You can do you bit and make changes today to reduce, reuse and recycle.
If you haven’t already, try switching to a plastic-free, reusable water bottle. The stainless steel bottles are quickly gaining popularity – not only are they great for the planet and for reducing plastic waste but they also keep your water cool all day. Take it with you wherever you go – whether that’s to work, the gym or even out to the cinema.
Kick your addiction to plastic water bottles and you won’t look back - promise!