Ohelo | Environmental
How many plastic water bottles are used in the UK every year?
Single use plastic water bottles are a nightmare. A perfect example of “throwaway culture” designed to be used once then thrown away. An item designed for a single use that takes hundreds of years to decompose. Normally made from PET, single use water bottles are only recyclable one or two times before the plastic has degraded too much to be useful anymore.
So how many of these single use water bottles are we using in the UK?
Single use plastics in numbers
🔵 7.7 billion single use plastic water bottles are used every year in the UK
🔵 Only 57.7% of single use plastic bottles are currently recycled
🔵 3,257,100,000 single use plastic water bottles are landfilled or incinerated every year in the UK
🔵 175 is the average number of single use plastic water bottles used by each Londoner every year
🔵 The UKs bottle water market adds 350,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases to our environment every year
🔵 Plastic bottles and their bottle tops account for 10% of all items in the Thames
🔵 1/3 of the fish in the English channel have plastics present
A Carbon footprint comparison
Most single use plastic water bottles are made from PET. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate and it is a light flexible plastic that does not decompose easily (we will come to that next).
An average 500ml single use plastic water bottle made from PET has a carbon footprint equal to 0.081kg of CO2.
We can compare this with a reusable Ohelo bottle. Our insulated Ohelo bottles have a carbon footprint of 1.62kg CO2 – this is the same as 20 single use bottles. Once you have used your Ohelo bottle a mere 20 times you will have lowered your carbon footprint. As your Ohelo bottle will last you years, it is easy to see this has a significant impact on your carbon footprint.
How long does it take for a single use PET water bottle to decompose
As mentioned earlier, PET does not decompose easily. In fact, it takes around 450 years for a single use PET water bottle to decompose. Even then, there will be microplastics left behind. Microplastics are a major plastic pollution problem. Found in the most remote areas of the world. In the food we eat and the water we drink.
All of the plastic ever made still exists today. Our dependence on single use plastics has to stop!
How many single use plastic water bottle are being used in the UK?
In the UK it is estimated that we use 7,700,000,000 single use plastic water bottles every year. Let’s break that down:
🔵 Every day 21,081,451 single use water bottles are used in the UK.
🔵 Every hour 878,394 single use water bottles are used in the UK.
🔵 Every minute 14,640 single use water bottles are used in the UK.
Estimates suggest only 57.7% of single use plastic bottles are currently recycled. This means 3,257,100,000 single use plastic water bottles are littered, landfilled or incinerated every year in the UK. Breaking that down:
🔵 Every day 8,917,454 single use plastic water bottles are littered, landfilled or incinerated in the UK.
🔵 Every hour 371,561 single use plastic water bottles are littered, landfilled or incinerated in the UK.
🔵 Every minute 6193 single use plastic water bottles are littered, landfilled or incinerated in the UK.
In London, it is estimated that each Londoner uses 175 single use plastic water bottles each year. That is a carbon footprint of 14.175kg per Londoner. It is 74 single use PET bottles not recycled but treated as waste per Londoner. With a simple swap to an Ohelo reusable water bottle, in the 1st year alone each Londoner would reduce their carbon footprint by 12.65kg.
There are enough single use plastic water bottles used in the UK each year to wrap around the world 46 times! What’s worse, the single use bottles used in the UK but not recycled will still stretch around the Earth 19.5 times.
Plastic bottles and their bottle tops still account for 10% of all items found in the Thames. Research has shown that 1/3 of fish surveyed in the English Channel had plastics present.
Plastic in our waterways is a global issue, with plastics entering the marine food chain everywhere.
Simple swaps can make a difference
Now we understand the nightmare that single use plastic water bottles cause the UK (as well as the planet globally), we can look to reduce our impact with some simple swaps:
🔵 Choose to use a reusable bottle. An insulated Ohelo bottle will not only keep your tea hot and your water cold. It will help you reduce your carbon footprint, save you money on your water, and is endlessly recyclable so prevents the build-up of more microplastics in our environment.
🔵 Don’t like your tap water? Get yourself a filter jug to keep in your fridge. Top up your reusable bottle from that before you head out.
🔵 Refill at water fountains – new fountains are being installed every month around the UK, so refilling keeps getting easier
🔵 Ask for a refill. Did you know if you are a customer at a bar / café / restaurant you are legally entitled to free drinking water – so ask to be topped and then get back out there.
Don’t bottle it!
It is not too late to turn the tide on the plastic pollution problem. Understanding the problem let’s us to make more informed choices and make simple changes to our lifestyles. By choosing reusable bottles we can stop the flood of single use plastic water bottles, reduce our carbon footprint, save some money and live in a more planet friendly way. Together we can make a difference.
PET carbon footprint calculation: Materials and the Environment: Eco-Informed Material Choice – Michael F. Ashby