Personal preference can turn into a general mandate when two important factors occur.
The economy and the environment are currently two of the international community's foremost concerns. Alternative energy and sustainable design widely determine consumer choices. But these products and energy sources are still much more expensive than oil-based or non-recycled products.
An exception to that rule is the water bottle. For the past two decades America has steadily increased its plastic bottle consumption. In 2006, 31.2 billion liters of water were bottled and sold in the U.S. To meet this consumer need, 900,000 pounds of plastic were manufactured. Nearly every bottle produced and sold contained polyethylene terephthalate (PET). While PET's have properties that induce cleaner and more efficient recycling processes, certain byproducts, costs, and erosion denigrate bottles containing PET's. Couple these factors with the high price of oil and PET-manufactured water bottles lose their viability.
But there is an alternative to water bottles that fall victim to soaring oil prices and the high expense of recycling. And they promote sustainability and smart design.
Many companies are stressing the functional and environmental advantages of personal water bottles and containers. Many of these bottles are available in stainless steel, glass, and polycarbonate. Unlike disposable plastic, these bottles function more as a vessel than a byproduct. A healthy population needs clean water. But a smart population drinks its water from re-usable bottles.
The energy, cost, and pollution that come from plastic water bottles is exorbitant. Until more efficient and costly methods are employed in the recycling process, it is necessary to diminish our plastic water bottle consumption. The best alternative is to invest in a well-designed water bottle that is easily cleaned, environmentally sound, and affordable. If a large portion of the consumer public adopts this philosophy, oil use, and in turn its cost, will be reduced, as will the emissions being released into the atmosphere.