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The Problem with Plastic & What We Can Do

Animation showing the path of plastic over 10 years

The crisis of plastic water bottles

2016 saw the sale of 480,000,000,000 plastic water bottles across the world. That is in the billions. To put this figure into perspective, one million seconds is 11 minutes. One billion seconds is 33 years. That difference is mind-blowing!

In the United States alone, the average citizen used 167 plastic bottles and only recycled 38 per year.

plastic_bottle

Despite there being a competitive industry for reusable water bottles, plastic bottle sales have grown steadily over time and are set to reach 583 billion by 2021, according to the Euromonitor International group. As of 2017, American citizens throw away about 6 billion tons of plastic bottles each year, with only 1.8 billion recycled, and 20% of the recycled material goes on to create new bottles.

Is recycling actually making a difference?

The vast majority of all water bottles are thrown into landfills and dumped into the ocean. While the onus to recycle does partially fall onto the consumer, we should pay attention to the fact that major soft drink companies produce the most plastic bottle waste. Coca-Cola uses more than 100 billion each year. PepsiCo, Suntory, Danone, Dr Pepper Snapple, and Nestle all contribute an enormous carbon footprint.

plastic-bottles September 2008. Ocean Conservancy

Plastic bottles in landfills

80% of the one-use plastic water bottles Americans purchase find their way into landfills. Out of 10 bottles, eight are wasted and two are recycled. Do you know how long it takes for one of these to decompose in a landfill environment? 450 years, according to the Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Florida. 

How do "plastic islands" form?

The planet has five major ocean gyres. A gyre is essentially a large system of flowing ocean currents. These currents are like a massive vortex, keeping Earth's waters in constant circulation. There is the Indian Ocean Gyre, the North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Atlantic, and South Pacific. In the Indian, North Atlantic, and North Pacific, there are garbage patches.

The Mediterranean Sea is also home to a garbage patch. It features 250 billion pieces of plastic. The pieces are largely microscopic and smaller than 5 millimeters. The Pacific Ocean's garbage patch weighs 7 million tons, double the size of Texas, and is the largest plastic dump on the planet.

Where to go from here

The obvious answer is to turn to sustainability. But what does that actually mean?

It means conscious action. It means supporting local organizations to clean up litter and to explore waste management. It means choosing reusable products instead of single-use plastic bottles. It means you see the bigger picture.

Democratizing eco-friendliness 

straw-wars

We invented the que Bottle to encourage the switch to reusable materials. We hope to clean up oceans by reducing single-use plastic among Americans and the world alike.

Why are so many plastic bottles being sold if there are so many viable alternatives? Well, we think it has to do with convenience and weight. Stainless steel is heavy. That is precisely why the que Bottle is only seven ounces -- it's easy to carry and totally transportable. The angled spirals speak to its tastefully curated design, so it makes for a fashionable outdoors accessory.

We desperately want to create a more informed society for a healthier, less polluted world. We believe that the small gestures -- whether they be volunteering at environmental organizations, educating friends on activism, or drinking from reusable materials -- can cause a ripple effect. 

We hope to bring neighbors, friends, and local communities together to work towards this sustainable mission. The planet needs advocates, and we are here to do just that. Clean oceans, fresh air, and empowerment of communities all matter. They all can make a difference. 

This is our que Bottle endeavor. 


References

Yours,

Sydney Moss | que Bottle Team