We all have our pet peeves. Some people can’t stand it when others talk with their mouths full or have messy handwriting. Me, I can’t stand plastic water bottles. When I see one, it’s like I’m Wall-E, trying to get the last living plant back before it gets blown up —all I can think about is the environmental impact of that little bottle. The worst disposable water bottles have got to be those tiny plastic ones that are like three inches tall. Drinking one of those seems to me like it would be more unsatisfying than getting a cheeseburger at Hubble when all you really want from the world right then is a quesadilla.
Disposable water bottles do have their benefits. When you’re thirsty, it’s convenient to snag one from the C-Store. They’re easy to tote around, and a pack of them is handy for a trip or for having water ready for a big group. In some countries, where you can’t trust the water coming out of the tap to be safe, plastic water bottles can be vital.
However, in general, reusable bottles are your best friend. They tend to hold more water, you can fill them up at the water bottle filling station next to the bubbler (it’s a Wisconsin thing, and no, I’m not going to explain) and your water bill would be Joker-level insane if you paid the price of a plastic water bottle for the same amount for water from the tap. Most of all, plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment. According to the World Wildlife Fund, less than 10% of the plastic waste in the U.S. gets recycled, so these bottles end up in landfills and take hundreds of years to break down. Plastic waste also makes it into rivers and oceans where it poses a danger to wildlife.
Well, that’s depressing. Hey, speaking of those filling stations, you know how they have a little digital counter that keeps track of how many disposable water bottles might’ve been used if people hadn’t used the station instead? Someone should make it so the person who saves the 100,000th or millionth bottle wins a Tesla or something. They could have the machine blast confetti in the air and start playing “We Are The Champions.” The World Wildlife Fund says the average American consumed 318 standard-sized water bottles in 2017, so we’d make pretty quick progress if we started using the station instead of buying plastic bottles from the C-Store. The filling station in Carpenter Hall is already at 94,803—if you’re the one who makes it to 100,000, take a photo of the number, come find me and I’ll buy you some chocolate or something. You can hold me to that.
Every time we don’t buy a plastic water bottle (or at least recycle it), it’s like we’re saving a tiny piece of an Infinity Stone from falling into the wrong hands. Because if we keep churning out new plastic bottles and chucking them in the landfill, it won’t take a snap of Thanos’s fingers to ruin our environment.