Decades ago, portable, plastic water bottles did not exist in the United States.
According to Elizabeth Royte, author of 2008’s Bottlemania, people did not start walking down the street, to the gym, and anywhere else with their bottled water until 1989 when water could be put in clear, lightweight bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Like before I was born, getting a 24 pack of bottled water was not a thing.
After that, bottled water sales in the 90’s tripled in size.
Pretty much all of the stats from my thesis are now horribly outdated. But one thing is for sure, that Americans love bottled water, like really love it, even more than when I wrote my thesis in 2010.
- In 2015, Americans bought the equivalent of 1.7 billion half-liter bottles of water every single week.
- Bottled water sales in 2015 rose almost 3x faster than the whole market for “liquid refreshment”
- From 2000 to 2015, bottled water consumption more than doubled, from 16.7 gallons a person to 36.4 gallons
- Source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160420-bottled-water-sales-record-high-despite-environmental-opposition/
It is truly insane.
Americans are also chugging those bottles and then tossing them into the landfill.
One quote from my thesis that did stick out was this:
“Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy and open up a plastic bottle of commercially produced water, and every second of every day in the United States, a thousand plastic bottles are thrown away, 85 million bottles a day. More than 30 billion bottles a year at a cost to consumers of tens of billions of dollars,”
-Peter H. Gleick, author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water
To put that into perspective, if it took a reader 20 seconds to read this blog post so far, 20,000 bottles have already arrived in the landfill…