Everyday choices about beverage bottles add up —1.5 billion beverage bottles are purchased each year in Minnesota; 15,000 will be purchased during the 5 minutes it takes to read this article.
Your small decision to use a reusable bottle filled with tap water, instead of a single-use water bottle that is tossed in the garbage, will reduce energy consumption by 85% and greenhouse gases by 79%.
Help us eliminate plastic bottles from the trash. Here is how you can do it, and help others do it, too.
- Drink tap water. Bottled water costs as much as $10 per gallon compared to less than a penny per gallon for tap water. In addition, federal water quality standards are usually more rigorous for tap water than for bottled water. Those concerned with taste or quality can also add a filtration system. Read about filters in the U.S. EPA's Filtration Facts (pdf).
- Buy only one or two reusable water bottles and use them frequently. Reusable water bottles are "in" right now, and come in fun colors and patterns. If you buy too many, though, you'll reduce the benefit of using a reusable bottle.
- If you must buy bottled water, choose the thinnest bottle and look for water that is bottled locally. This will reduce packaging volume and pollution from shipping.
Make it trendy
- Compliment others who use a reusable bottle. Positive comments encourage people to continue their behavior. It can be as simple as saying “thanks for using a reusable bottle.”
- Ask your school or work place to install a water bottle filling station. Many have an electronic sensor that makes filling fast and sanitary. Seeing the station is also a reminder that reusable bottles are expected or encouraged.
- If you host an event, provide a tap or pitcher for water. Encourage guests and attendees to bring a bottle or cup.
- Label your bottle as “reusable." This will highlight why you are using it and encourage others to do the same. You can print our reusable bottle label on sticker paper or create your own designs.
- Spread the word by using posters, activities, and links provided by the City of Minneapolis on TapMpls.com.
- Recycle every bottle you buy. Only 24% of bottles are recycled by Minnesotans every year. Make a commitment to recycle 100% of your plastic bottles even if that means carrying it home to recycle. Your good example will be noticed. Single-use bottles are in demand as a material to make new things. Plus, recycling saves energy, makes jobs and feels good.
- Start or improve the recycling program at your work or school. The Recycle More Minnesota website has a toolkit for schools. RethinkRecycling has resources, too.
- Thank businesses who provide recycling. Just like people, positive comments encourage businesses to continue their behavior. If you don't see recycling options, ask for it. The more that business owners hear their customers asking for recycling, the sooner they will provide it.