Summer is the perfect time of year to take stock of the way you quench your thirst, whether in the backyard, at the beach, around the campfire or in route to your next adventure.
Unfortunately, society has become addicted to the convenience of plastic, especially when it comes to the way we hydrate. Globally, one million single-use plastic water bottles are purchased per minute, and on average, Americans purchase 50 billion water bottles per year, equating to about 13 bottles per month for every U.S. citizen.
Think all that plastic gets reused? Think again – 90.5 percent of plastic has never been recycled; a figure that was International Statistic of the Year in 2018 according to the Great Britain’s Royal Statistical Society.
Besides being an eyesore, plastic hurts the environment, wildlife and human health. Virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists, as it takes between 500 to 1,000 years to degrade. Much of it has changed shape over time into microplastics – small pieces less than five millimeters in diameter that end up in waterways, ground water and marine life and have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other diseases.
So, what can you do to help turn the tide on your own plastic consumption? This summer, consider upgrading your hydration habits in the following ways:
- A plastic-free pour. In the pursuit of always having a source of great-tasting, healthy water at home, many families stock their fridge with single-use water bottles. That adds up to a lot of plastic! For a far more sustainable solution, use a water filter pitcher. It’s ideal for everyday use or even when entertaining guests on the back patio.
- The last straw. If you’re an iced tea or iced coffee lover, you know that plastic straws quite literally suck. In fact, half a million straws are used globally each day, and they’re tough to recycle. Skip the straw entirely or bring your own reusable straw with you on coffee runs.
- Hydrate safely anywhere. Whether you’re trekking up a mountain or running around town doing errands, the hot summer weather will make you extra thirsty. Be prepared to hydrate on the go with a reusable water bottle that features a filter and is designed for travel.
A few simple changes to your at-home and on-the-go hydration routine can help you reduce your plastic use and protect the environment.