Every year in Ontario, one billion single use plastic bottles end up in landfills or as litter in our environment. Want to help? A simple thing you can do is to stop using single use plastic water bottles and choose a reusable one instead.
This is one of the solutions we propose to prevent plastic pollution in our new report, Turning the Plastic Tide. Switching from bottled water to tap is one of the best ways to make sure that throwaway plastics are not choking the waterways we rely on to drink, work and play.
Eighty percent of the litter in the Great Lakes is plastic, and concentrations of plastic bits in the lakes rival those found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Recycling more of the plastic is one thing we can do to turn this plastic tide, and we have a plan to make sure that happens, but the better option is to not create the waste at all. Luckily, reducing bottled water waste is easy in Ontario, where most people have access to high quality tap water that they can take on the go in a reusable container at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.
But in case you still need more convincing to switch from bottled to tap, here are a few more facts:
- The energy used to produce a 500ml plastic bottle of water could fill 4,000 glasses of tap water instead.
- One litre of tap water costs less than one cent, while the same amount of bottled water costs $2.50.
- Bottled water is no safer than tap water. In fact, tap water is tested every four to six hours, while bottled water may be tested as little as once every three years. Plus, tap water is regulated more strongly than water bottles.
- In taste tests, many people like the taste of tap water over bottled, or can’t tell the difference between bottled and tap at all.
- In some cases, bottled water is in fact just expensive tap water. An estimated eight per cent of bottled water sold in Canada comes from municipal sources.
It’s important to note that not all Ontario communities have access to safe and clean tap water. For example, many First Nations communities still rely on bottled water to meet their daily needs. But bottled water isn’t a permanent solution. Instead, we need to ensure all Canada’s communities have access to clean drinking water.
For those that do have access to safe tap water, it’s time to stop taking it for granted. Every year, Canadians buy 2.4 billion litres of bottled water at a cost of $590 million. And that amount has been increasing every year, meaning more and more single use plastic bottles end up littering our environment.
Help us turn the tide on plastic pollution in our waterways. Make a commitment to reduce your own plastic consumption by swapping single use plastic water bottles for reusable ones.
Want to do more? Take action by encouraging Ontario to “Cash it! Don’t trash it” with a deposit return program for plastic bottles that will reduce plastic waste and fund efforts that keep our waterways clean.