Mineral water, sodas, fizzy drinks…how many plastic bottles do you think are bought globally every minute? A thousand? Ten thousand? The answer is a million. Every single minute. That’s roughly 20,000 a second. That number is set to increase by a fifth in 2021, bringing the total figure up to over half a trillion plastic bottles every year – an almost unimaginable amount.
Although most plastic bottles used by the drinks industry are made from a highly recyclable form of plastic known as polyethylene terephthalate, the sheer volume we get through means that only a small proportion are actually retrieved and reused. Demand for the bottles far outstrips the systems originally set up to control them, and the majority go to landfill or end up just being dumped in the ocean. Once in the ocean, plastic poses a serious danger to sea birds and marine life and gets back into the human food chain in the form of tiny pieces of shredded plastic in edible fish. Heavy amounts of plastic pollution have been found on remote beaches from the Arctic to the Philippines. The tax on plastic bags, brought in in 2015, has had the effect of reducing bag waste by 86 per cent – but there are currently no plans to bring in a similar tax on plastic bottles.
While drinks manufacturers could increase the amount of recycled plastic they use in their bottles, most of them have no plans to do so. Recycled plastic can look dull and cloudy, and manufacturers prefer to show off their product in clear, shiny containers.
Ironically, the increased demand for plastic bottles is caused by a desire for healthy living. The NHS advise that we need to drink around 1.2 litres of liquid a day, and even mild dehydration can affect concentration at work. Although we all have access to free tap water in the UK, multiple trips to the tap may not be convenient during the working day and the majority of people prefer the taste of mineral water.
As individuals, what can we do to reduce our own plastic footprint? The answer is an office water machine, delivering chilled water directly to the consumer without the need for plastic bottles. From today until 31 October, we’re giving away a water machine with every coffee machine sold – so you can love the planet and not break the budget. Terms and conditions apply. To find out more or book a free demonstration, visit our website www.rijo42.co.uk.