Bottled water recycling can ease environmental impact

Ben Sadkowski/Staff Writer
In a recent update of the recycling program at Cedar Falls School District, a few very impressive numbers came up. In the year alone, Cedar Falls Schools managed to recycle 45.5 tons of material, which in turn saved:
•774 trees
•3,180,500 gallons of water
•17,290 gallons of oil
•4,050 cubic feet of landfill space
In addition, the energy saved during the past year totaled up to be enough to power 22.75 homes for an entire year. These numbers are extremely impressive and the students of the district deserve to congratulate themselves, but this is only the beginning of what could be another powerful change.
However impressive these numbers are, a lot of work is left to be done, and I have noticed one particular product that requires special attention: bottled water.
As I go throughout my regular school day, I can’t help but notice the number of kids sporting either bottled water or permanent water bottles. Does it not make sense to buy a stainless steel or hard plastic water bottle and to refill it instead of just continually buying bottled water?
This is not only much cheaper for consumers, but it also reduces waste.
Bottled water produces amounts of plastic waste as high as 1.5 million tons per year. Over 80 percent of consumers do not recycle their bottles, but rather throw them away because it is simply easier; however, littering rates are also on the rise, which represents an entire plethora of new issues including damage to natural environments. Plastic containers can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade naturally, the thought of them simply corroding away is not a very attainable dream.
Finally, the argument of taste comes up. Many people claim to not enjoy the taste of their municipally provided tap water, which prompts them to switch to bottled. A much more sensible and inexpensive alternative would be to go ahead and buy an indispensable container along with a purifying attachment to your sink faucet, which would effectively purify your water at a tiny portion of the price of bottled water over time.
Overall, these problems can be avoided through the use of a little common sense and zest. It is not too difficult to purchase a reliable bottle that can use time and time again instead of constantly burning your money on a bottle of water that can (and consistently is) thrown away the moment the last drops are gone.

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