Private industry as well like Coke is going to put water into cans under the Dasani brand. It's not everything but it's a major step in reducing the waste caused my plastic.
But plastic is in other products as well like toys, electronics, etc... Individuals must be aware of this and need to make better choices or else this problem will just continue.
I am hopeful we can take collective action to clean up the environment and live sustainably.
No they don't. At least not if they live in the developed world. Virtually all disposed of plastic in the US and Europe is sequestered in solid-waste landfills. Modern landfills leak virtually nothing to the outside environment.
Virtually all environmental plastic contamination comes from third world countries in Asia or Africa. In particular China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. Due to rampant corruption and lack of oversight these countries have gross mismanagement of their solid waste disposal.
Plastic is completely fine to use. As long as it's properly disposed of, there's essentially zero environmental impact. If you live in a first world country, I can assure you that your plastic straw will absolutely not end up in a turtle's nose. The issue is that the international community needs to hold Asia and Africa accountable for not upholding global standards on ocean pollution.
And just recently we started sending recycling to landfill in many places:
Historically we've "outsourced" our recycling problem to Asian nations rather than develop or implement solutions at home, and unfortunately now our chickens are coming home to roost.
I find this absolutely infuriating... it's the perfect job to give to the CSIRO (our public scientific research organisation) and provide government grants to get local recycling off the ground. There's so much talk around "supporting local industry", but when decisions are actually made, they use overseas suppliers 9 times out of 10.
and considering the defunding that has been going on, particularly with respect to climate change:
It really is a sad picture indeed.
Whilst high-income countries tend to have effective waste management infrastructure and therefore very small quantities of inadequately disposed waste, they can contribute to plastics pollution by littering. Jambeck et al. (2015) assume a rate of littering of 2 percent of total plastic waste generation across all countries.
> Virtually all environmental plastic contamination comes from third world countries in Asia or Africa
This is so wrong there's no point trying to rebut it. But it is very wrong, and the fact you say it shows you do not understand the problem at all.
Less code is more. Less stuff is more.
I got a cloth shopping bag as a gift when I was in college; I still use it today 10 years later. Perfect example of a case where there is really no need for plastic in the first place.
I’m not against plastic, but its cheap price had lead to grotesque levels of overuse. Every time I order take out, I always make a big point that I don’t want any utensils, because if I don’t, they cram the bag full of things I don’t need. It’s no more convenient for me to receive or not receive plastic utensils, it’s just wasteful.
If you need a plastic thing, by all means, go for it. But that I can tell most use of plastic in our society is just out of habit. We could change our habits, use far less plastic and at no cost to ourselves.
Seems like a no brained to optimize this function.
People need to stop buying packaged water. Municipal water in developed countries is always cleaner than bottled water. There are very low standards for bottled water where as city water in the US, EU, Japan et. al. are tested constantly (in some cities; up to 400 times per month at various sites and sections).
Bottled water is at 1000% markup compared city/water fountains. It is also almost always tap water. It's a plight on the world in plastic/oil waste and people need to stop buying it. Putting it in cans will not make it better, and countries without clean water need heavily to invest in better domestic clean water infrastructure. It should be the highest priority of ever low income country to provide this most basic need to its people.
The documentaries Blue Gold and Tapped go into the issues with the private and bottled water industries.
It just says that bottled water can be tap water that may be purified. And obviously, that bottled water has to be drinkable, just like tap water.
The only indication that tap water may be inferior is that the tolerance for lead is higher in tap water, to account for possibly of lead piping. But I suppose that you can check your water if you think it is a problem.
If you believe that bottled water is less clean than tap, then only one of the following must be true:
1. The sourced municipal tap water is already purified such that any additional treatment does nothing.
2. The bottled water in question is not labeled as purified (and is not from a spring, well, or other non-municipal source).
A quick internet search reveals that all the major bottled water brands are either explicitly labeled as purified municipal tap (Smart Water, Dasani), or excluded from the discussion because they are from a spring or well (Evian, Arrowhead). I have yet find a single brand of unpurified non-spring water. However, I did learn that all bottled water regardless of source must meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia 23rd Rev. standards (which are unfortunately paywalled).
It seems unlikely you'll encounter unpurified, straight-from-the-tap bottled water, striking conjecture #2 from the list. Therefore, if conjecture #1 is true, then the only thing that can be said is bottled water is at least as good as municipal tap, but never worse.
I don't think it was even 15 years ago that bottled water was like, a non-thing. It might sort of be in shops but people would laugh at it.
It's one of those collective action problems whereby I'd happily pay ten quid a year or whatever stupidly low cost would be required to have some free fountains. Gah.
It's less mysterious when you consider the sales trends for bottled soft drinks vs bottled water. People are buying bottled water in situations where they used to buy bottled soda.
It's not even the pollution stuff, it's more like, you've just paid for a free resource. Wat?
Bottled soda is completely different because it's a resource that isn't anywhere close to free.
There was absolutely no reason to switch to chloramine other than some chemical company greased a politician. And no I don't care about your goofy stats telling me it's "safe" (or dangerous for that matter, though I assume it probably ain't good for you) -it tastes like a goddamned swimming pool.
It's funny, last time I went to LAX I couldn't find a single place to refill our water bottle, meanwhile IAH in Houston has them everywhere.
Also, in a lot of countries bottled water is tested and is much better than the local drinking water. It's necessary when you go to Thailand or Mexico for example. It's also necessary for some places in the US.
Micro plastics from washing clothes:
"The number of microfibres released from a typical 5 kg wash load of polyester fabrics was estimated to be over 6,000,000 depending on the type of detergent used"
A lot of study still needs to be done to determine the sources of micro plastics.
We can all stop using single use carrier bags, but can we stop washing our $3 Target t-shirts made from poly-cotton?
The answer has to be national, ideally global, and that means political.
Or do it in the bathroom since potable water is fairly universal in the Western world. I don't expect others to do this because it seems there are huge numbers of irrationally squeamish individuals.
I agree it’s not effective to expect people to do this, but it’s really easy for an individual to do.
I've tried telling my foreign in-laws that the water here is some of the cleanest in the world, but they still buy their 24-pack from supermarket when they visit. Maybe one day we will convince them.
EDIT for the down voters: aluminum cans have been identified as the main source of BPA in the human population.
Expecting individuals to do the right thing vs laziness is not a good bet. A better option would be to remove plastic supply, including slightly more durable goods, by any number of mechanisms.