Just as the city of Long Beach, California made the bold and environmentally-responsible move to restrict retail and grocery store's usage of plastic bags for bagging purchased items, San Francisco is implementing a ban on the sale of single-use plastic water bottles on city-owned property. Violators of this ban could face fines up to $1,000. This is a ground-breaking measure in a major American city...and a truly crucial one.
Think of it this way: of the 50 million(!) plastic water bottles consumed by Americans each year, only 23% are recycled...which means a staggering amount of plastic ends up in our landfills, waterways, and natural environment overall. Truly frightening.
There are many reasons to stop buying single-use plastic bottles. For one, the sheer cost of regularly buying single-use plastic bottled water is staggering-- according to banthebottle.net, a medium-sized water filter pitcher typically filters around 240 gallons of water per year, which runs you about 19 cents a day.
Conversely, if you were to buy the same amount of water in single-use plastic bottles, that would require you to purchase 1,818 16.9-ounce bottles a year, which at a dollar a bottle would cost close to $5 a day. Do the math and that comes out to more than $1,800 a year on plastic water bottles!
Of equal or even greater importance than the effect on your wallet is the environmental impact of regular usage of single-use plastic water bottles. Because plastic NEVER fully bio-degrades, any plastic water bottle that is not recycled ends up in our environment in some way, shape, or form-- forever. The consequences of this fact on Earth's wildlife and plant life are devastating.
Furthermore, it's not just the plastic itself that is a problem for our environment-- the energy wasted in making the water bottles is shocking, enough to power 190,000 homes! And the oil expended in the production of these bottles is also overwhelming-- over 17 million gallons annually.
San Francisco's move to ban single-use plastic bottles is not only admirable, but is becoming a necessity. Although San Francisco isn't the first place in the United States to ban the bottle (Concord, Massachusetts and several national parks have banned the plastic bottle), the hope is that San Francisco's national and global influence as a progressive, green city can help push the movement further at a quick pace. Let's all ban the plastic bottle and choose reusable water bottles whenever possible!