Green Corner: Reusable bottles protect nature and our wallets

Has anyone ever told you to cut back on the amount of soda and sugary beverages you consume daily? If so, you might have made the change to drink more water. Obviously, we purchase soda in cans or bottles, but do you spend the same amount of money on bottles of water as you do on soda? If you answered yes to that question, you’re in need of a wake-up call.
Water is a necessity for survival, but why pay for something that is free? Rider has water bottle refill stations in many buildings on both campuses. Isn’t this water just as filtered as what you might find in aisle two at ShopRite? The answer is yes.
Rather than purchasing bottles repeatedly, find a Klean Kanteen (or any other reusable water bottle or thermos) that you can keep with you and drink from daily. If you are concerned about keeping the bottle clean, invest in a few reusable bottles. Having more than one bottle allows you to rinse and clean one, while using another for the day.
Rider’s Eco-Reps, along with countless other organizations, often give away bottles for free. Bringing your own bottle and filling it daily can make a huge impact on our university’s carbon footprint, as well as your own wallet.
According to the organization Recycle Across America, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. That number only includes one country, and only accounts for one hour of the day. Can you imagine the amount of waste caused by plastic bottles for a full year?
If you find yourself reaching for a plastic water bottle, make sure it ends up in an appropriate recycling receptacle. Recycled plastic does allow for renewed energy and materials. However, recycling anything requires energy and funds. At the rate Americans are consuming and recycling bottled water containers, recycling companies are under an extreme amount of pressure to keep up.
According to NBC News, the per capita consumption of bottled water was 10.5 gallons in 1993. That number more than doubled to 22.6 gallons by 2003. Along with consumption, the number of bottles purchased from 1997 to 2002 more than quadrupled. In 1997, 3.3 billion bottles of water were sold and just five years later in 2002, 15 billion bottles were sold.
As young people, it is often challenging to find a way to make a difference. Living a more sustainable life is a great way to make your mark. The next time you find yourself at the grocery store, think twice before purchasing bulk packages of water bottles. Try to opt for a sustainable choice instead. Most thermoses and reusable bottles come in incredibly unique designs. Find something that expresses who you are, and start contributing to Rider’s green initiative.

-Mark Laseter
Westminster Eco-Rep
Printed in the 9/25/13 edition.

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