By the time you read this article...

Americans will use 805,000 plastic water bottles.

Every single minute, more than a million plastic bottles are sold globally, and in the United States, only 30% of these are being recycled. That math works out to American’s consuming around 50 billion bottles of water, per year, and 80% of these end up in a landfill.

According to Fast Company, “since plastic does not biodegrade, it does not return to the earth, but rather breaks into small pieces while releasing greenhouse gases. And every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic will be swept away from the waste stream into the ocean, where sea creatures might mistake it for food and choke on it.  (If they ingest it, it will end up in the human food chain, harming our health, too.)

The U.S is the second largest consumer market for bottle water in the world, beat only by China, a country with a population over four times the size. And according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, a beverage-focused research and consultancy group, the trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, our demand for bottled water is only growing. 

Still having trouble imagining a number so large? Try this:

  • By the time you read this article, Americans will use 805,000 plastic water bottles.
  • By the time you get to work (using the average commute of 25 minutes), Americans will use 4 million plastic water bottles.
  • By the time you order Seamless and your dinner arrives, Americans will use 6.4 million plastic water bottles.
  • By the time you watch an episode of House of Cards, Americans will use 8.8 million plastic water bottles. And by the time you binge-watch an entire season? 115 million.
  • And in the time it takes you to fly from San Francisco to New York, Americans will use 50 million plastic water bottles.

So what can you do to put a dent in this growing pile of plastic?

  1. Buy a reusable water bottle and immediately start cutting your plastic water bottle consumption.
  2. Fill your water bottle up at home or from public water fountains whenever possible.
  3. Take it a step farther and advocate for more public fountains in your town or at work.
  4. Traveling and forgot your water bottle? That’s OK, it happens to all of us. Why not buy a second one and keep it in your carry-on?