Waste Reduction Week states that Canadians throw away about 57 million single-use plastic straws every day, which is over 2 billion each year. With recent awareness around the alarming effects of our plastic waste, many Canadians, restaurants, and cities have decided to say no to the straw.
While this is a positive step that should be applauded, there is more work to be done.
Canadians are purchasing 2.5 billion litres of bottled water per year. And worldwide, more than 1 million bottles of water are purchased every minute. The waste generated by producing and distributing single-use water bottles is an environmental issue that affects all of us.
But aren’t they just recycled?
No. The reality is that more than 90 percent of the plastics we use don’t get recycled. Most of the bottles we consume end up in our oceans, on our streets, and filling our landfills.
Matt Wittek, Cupanion’s Founder & Director, has been on a mission for over 15 years to rid the world of single-use plastic waste. He grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, where his parents owned a grocery store. It was here that he witnessed the number of single-use products and plastic bags that were used by nearly every consumer.
After university, he was hired by a company that offered sustainable solutions to the grocery industry. In 2007, he worked with Leaf Rapids, Man., on an awareness campaign that gained international attention as the first town in North America to scrap single-use plastic bags. He was proud of our contribution in helping to execute the town-wide ban. Today, major Canadian cities, such as Montreal and Victoria, have followed suit.
It’s time we stamp out single-use water bottles. Why?
Recycling single-use bottles isn’t enough to solve the problem. And just creating and shipping a case of plastic bottles takes up significant energy and resources. By switching to a reusable bottle, you can divert 2 pounds of plastic from our oceans annually.
Most of us in Canada have access to safe and clean drinking water, which can be easily tapped into by having a reusable bottle.
The average consumer spends more than $100 on bottled water per year, not to mention the energy used to lug around their 30-pound case. By switching to a reusable, you’re saving time, money, and our planet.
It’s a smart choice, but it is also simple. I’m not asking you to buy a Tesla or install solar panels. If you choose to do those things, that’s great! But reuse on its own is the easiest thing we can do for ourselves and the planet.
So, let’s keep ditching the straws. Was it really that hard? Why not take the next step with bottles?