Earth Day can seem overwhelming. After all, how can one person save an entire planet?
Of course, it helps to reduce, reuse and recycle. And we're getting better at recycling, which is more convenient now than ever in Seneca County.
But we need to get better at reducing and reusing. One way is to stop using so much bottled water.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans use close to 30 billion plastic water bottles each year. That's more than 3 million every hour.
An estimated one in five or six of those bottles gets recycled. The rest end up as trash. Most go to landfills, but others litter ditches, streams, rivers and lakes.
Because plastic production involves petroleum distillates, and water bottles have to be transported to market, those billions of water bottles used each year consume millions of gallons of oil - enough, by some estimates, to propel a million cars for a year.
Need a more selfish reason to cut back? Try cost. Refilling a reusable container with tap water saves money. Gasoline costs about 3 cents per ounce at the pump. Bottled water costs about 5 cents per ounce at a vending machine. Tap water costs about a penny per gallon - delivered.
According to Back2Tap.com, a quarter cup of oil is used to make and distribute a single plastic bottle of water. And, it takes three bottles of water to make and distribute one disposable bottle of water.
This Earth day, pledge to reduce the number of water bottles used by switching to a reusable container.
Remember, you are one person among 7 billion and counting; everyone, together, has a huge impact.