The Problem With Plastic Water Bottles

The Problem With Plastic Water Bottles

Disposable water bottles should not be a growing industry.

My friends and I recently walked into a restaurant and upon settling in, the waiter asked us, “May I interest you in some Voss filtered water?” He was holding a clear cylinder-shaped bottle of what looked to have the same flavor and benefits as normal water, and it was five dollars extra. “No thanks,” I answered. “Tap is fine.” But I was confused. Do people really prefer this funky-looking, expensive bottle of water to the ice water that is free? And why do people gravitate toward water bottles instead of water from a sink? In a world where there is so much press about the terrible effects of plastic water bottles, why is this still a huge industry? I was determined to find out.

There are really only three reasons why people drink bottled water: convenience, preference, and necessity.

Bottles of water are available at nearly every grocery store, gas station, and airport. They can be purchased in bulk or individually. They come in all shapes and sizes. Put simply, purchasing a bottle of water is easy; it’s much easier than hunting down a water fountain to fill up a reusable water bottle. Water bottles are the perfect on-the-go beverage. So many water bottles are handed out to kids after sports games and purchased by outdoor crowds in the heat of the summer. According to government and industry research, a fourth of bottled water is just tap water, and some of that isn’t even purified further. That’s right. Much of the bottled water that companies advertise as being purified and better-than-tap water is actually just tap water. People are paying as much as several dollars a bottle for the same water they could get from their kitchen sink for only fractions of a penny.

Many people prefer bottled water to tap water or soda. Tap water may taste different depending on which water source it comes from, making it more likely for a person to drink bottled water. In fact, only 1% of tap water is used for human consumption, and the rest is used for showers, cleaning, and cooking. While much bottled water is just packaged tap water, there is a perception that it is cleaner or more purified than tap water, and many people like this idea. Others drink water because of the negative effects that drinking soda and other sugary drinks bring. Sugar-filled beverages dehydrate a person more quickly than water, have way more calories compared to the zero calories in water, and are terrible for a person’s overall health, including increases in obesity rates and tooth decay. Grabbing a water bottle seems like a healthier choice for several reasons.

Water bottles are used in lots of places in which tap water is not an option. This includes natural disasters like earthquakes, crises like the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, and in third-world countries where there are no water systems. Nestlé Waters North America, a the number one water bottle company worldwide, donated one million dollars in bottled water products to Haiti earthquake relief in 2010—this ended up totaling to three million bottles of water. Recently, in Flint, Michigan, the city’s water supply has been contaminated with toxic amounts of lead and iron. Unable to drink the tap water, citizens of Flint are forced to drink bottled water. Organizations throughout the United States have donated thousands of water bottles to the city. There are so many water bottles in Flint, Michigan, that they are now not only facing a problem with the tap water, but with an overabundance of empty plastic water bottles to recycle. In poverty-stricken countries, there is no access to any clean water. Quite a few organizations are working towards providing clean water access to these people through wells and purifiers, but the temporary solution is bottled water.

The water bottle industry is huge, and it is a relatively new industry. Water bottles are convenient, and many people think the water tastes better than tap water, even if it is often the same product. Bottled water was technically invented in 1767 in Boston, but it did not get big until about 200 years later in 1977 when bottled water company Perrier launched a five million dollar marketing campaign for its water. From there, bottled water sales skyrocketed. Plastic water bottle sales continue to grow each year despite how wasteful they are. Yes, they can be recycled, but out of the 50 million water bottles that Americans consume each year, it is estimated that only one out of five are recycled. This causes the water bottles to sit in the landfills, and they take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. Annually, thousands of animals are killed because of becoming entangled with or ingesting plastic, including water bottles. There are so many statistics and just one conclusion: although disposable plastic water bottles are easy to obtain and consume, reusable water bottles filled with tap water are equally as beneficial health-wise and are much more beneficial to the earth.

Cover Image Credit: Home Designs Inspiration

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved

To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Abortion Bans Are Only A Small Part Of The Republican War On Women

These bans expose the Republican Party for what it truly is.


This week, several states passed laws that ban abortion after six to eight weeks of pregnancy, before most women even know that they're pregnant. The most egregious of these is Alabama — the state has banned abortion except for in cases of danger to the mother. Exceptions in the cases of rape and incest were actively voted against by the state legislature. Under the new law, any doctor who is caught giving an abortion would be sentenced to 99 years in prison, and the woman would be charged with murder.

Apart from the fact that this explicitly violates the decision of Roe v. Wade (which is the point), this is only a small part of the slow but steady degradation of women's rights by Republicans in the United States. To anyone who believes that this is simply about people being "pro-life" or "saving the children," then tell them to look at what happens after the fetus is carried to term.

Republicans oppose forcing fathers to be involved in the lives of their children that were forcibly carried to term, desires to cut food stamps and make it more difficult to feed said child, cut funding for affordable housing to make it more difficult for them to find homes, cut spending to public education so these children can't move up the social ladder, and refuse to offer the woman or her child health insurance to keep them both healthy. What about efforts to prevent pregnancy? Republicans also oppose funding birth control and contraception, as well as opposing comprehensive sexual education. To them, the only feasible solution is to simply keep your legs shut. They oppose all of these things because it is, in their eyes, a violation of individual rights to force people to do something. The bill also makes women who get abortions felons, and felons can't vote. I'll let you finish putting those two together.

If you view it from this framework, it would seem like Republicans are being extremely hypocritical by violating the personal freedoms of pregnant women, but if you look at it from the view of restricting social mobility for women, then it makes perfect sense. The Republican dogma of "individual rights" and "personal responsibility" is a socially acceptable facade that they use to cover up their true intentions of protecting the status quo and protect those in power. About any Republican policy, ask yourself: does this disperse power or consolidate it? Whether it be education, healthcare, the environment, or the economy, Republicans love to keep power away from the average citizen and give it to the small number of people that they deem "deserving" of it because of their race, gender, wealth, or power. This is the case with abortion as well; Power is being taken from women, and being given back to men in a reversal of the Feminist Movement of the 1970s.

Republicans don't believe in systemic issues. They believe that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed regardless of what point they started. This is why they love capitalism so much. It acts as some sort of great filter in which only those who deserve power can make it to the top. It's also why they hate social policies; they think that helping people who can't help themselves changes the hierarchy in a negative way by giving people who don't "deserve" power, power. Of course, we know that just because you have money and power doesn't mean you earned it fair and square, and even if Republicans believe it, it wouldn't change anything because it wouldn't change how they want to distribute power.

In short, Republican policies, including abortion, leave the average American with less money, less protection, less education, worse health, less opportunity, fewer rights, and less freedom. This is NOT a side effect. This is the point. Regardless of what Republicans will tell you about "inalienable rights" and how everyone is equal, in reality, they believe that some people and groups are more deserving of rights than others, and the group that deserves rights the most are the ones "that will do the best with them." To Republicans, this group consists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the white — the mega-rich, the CEOs of large companies, gun owners and Christians.

So, who do Republicans think deserve power and give it to? People who look and think like them. This, however, begs the question: Who do they want to take it from?

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