Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Falls, MI in Autumn. Source:Storyful News

Single-use water bottles, microplastics and…uh, what’s that in my sushi?

As we watch the fall colors slowly creep panoramic across the trees and terrain of West Michigan, we often stare in wonderment at all the miracles nature gives us, year in and year out. Michigan is a beautiful state, and if we wish to keep it that way for future generations we have to discuss one of the seemingly many elephants in the room. That is, our reliance on plastics and other non-biodegradable micro-materials that pollute our earth.

Especially as school is starting, and our kids are getting back into their rhythm at school, part time jobs and school sports, it’s really easy to go through a case of single-serving bottled water – and fast. Multiply that by the number of families in your kids’ school and you’ll get a better idea of our communities contributions to plastic waste​ ​just in bottled water form​. Now think about use across the country and that pile of waste just continues to grow exponentially. Where is it ending up? Landfills, lakes, and often in our consumable products. IN OUR CONSUMABLE PRODUCTS.

Fish with plastic

Microplastics are entering the food chain. Making the invisible, visible. Photo Credit: GWS

Beach with plastic

Beach @ Little Traverse Bay littered with plastics and debris. Photo Credit: James Fry

Fish and plastic

Spicy Tuna Roll with Plastic Roe. Making the invisible, visible. Photo Credit: GWS

 

Yes, it’s not just water contamination, we’re eating plastic!                                             

We’re increasingly aware of how plastic is polluting our environment. A lot of attention recently has focused on how ​microplastics​ – tiny pieces ranging from 5 millimetres down to 100 nanometres in diameter – are ​filling ​our lakes and working their way ​into the creatures​ that live in them. That means these microplastics are entering the food chain and, ultimately, being bio-stored in our bodies. ​In this blog, we’ll look more closely into the effects of single use plastics like these, what we can do to limit and reduce our plastic footprint, how it affects our food and water and lastly how we can help keep our earth healthy and beautiful for generations to come.

Fish and plastic

Yours truly with a lovely piece of Plasti-Catfish. Photo Credit: GWS

 

Fortunately for us, the visual painted above is an easy one to wrap our heads around.                                            

So if we’ve heard about it so much, and it’s easily represented visually then what’s our problem? Why can’t we adapt to a more responsible way of life in this one, very specific and EASY way?

Reusable water bottle

By using glass in lieu of plastics, we can help clean up our impact on the environment. Source: 123rf.com

Convenience. We as American’s love convenience, and it’s not always convenient to recycle. In some cases, it can be more important than product quality or price, but that’s for another blog. I’d like to give you a run down of just a couple frightening facts about the path we’re on in regards to plastics pollution…                                     

  • The energy we waste using single use bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.
    ○  Think about all of the energy that goes into producing just ​one​ b​ ottle: drilling the oil, manufacturing the bottles, washing them, adhesive and labeling, filling them, packaging & shipping, etc. All that effort & energy. If you had a ​reverse osmosis system​ in your home, you could manufacture that in-house, and get it right from your spigot (and pay way less for it in the long run, both ecologically and financially!)

    ○  Instead of shelling out for a bottle of water you’ll use one time and then get rid of, invest in a reusable water bottle to lower your environmental impact. ​Bonus points if it’s a glass water bottle, since g​ lass is 100% recyclable.                                                   
  • Only about one in five single-use plastic water bottles are recycled
                                                                    
    ○  You know, because it’s not convenient.
                                                                            
    ○  Because of this, nearly 80% of these bottles end up in landfills. That adds up to about 3 billion pounds of waste, just from all of the discarded plastic (not to mention the damage this plastic has if it leaves landfills and migrates into our water supply like aquifers, rivers, lakes and on a larger scale, oceans).                                                             
                                                                                                                            
  • Plastic water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to decompose
                                                                    
    ○  Woof. That single-use water bottle someone so leisurely tossed in the trash is going to outlive us all 10 times over. This should really make you think twice about leaving your reusable water bottle at home, right?

    ○  Does this one really need further explanation? Oh it does, OK – well think about how a piece of plastic sitting in the ocean might decompose. If you guessed by breaking down over 1,000 years, leaching microplastics and changing the make-up of our oceans dramatically over decades of abuse – you guessed correct! “Johnny, tell ‘em what they’ve won” – IT’S A FRESH BONK ON THE HEAD WITH YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE!                                                                        
  •  It takes 1.39 liters of water to make one liter of water
                                                                    
    ○  And honestly, that’s not even a fully accurate number – this figure only looks at total water use (all water used by the facility, including product water and water used for facility processes like treatment, cleaning, and maintenance).

    ○  Know what it doesn’t include? Packaging — which makes a significant difference, considering everything we talked about in the first scary fact. In fact, one analyst estimates that three liters of water might be used to make a half-liter bottle (or about six to seven times more than what’s actually in the bottle).

So what are we here to tell you? Well, a couple of things…

  •  It doesn’t have to be difficult or inconvenient to change a habit, it just takes mindfulness.
    ○ There are a lot of ways to create high purity water right in your own home. We have reverse osmosis and filtration systems available  that will fit any budget. Our Kinetico K5 Reverse Osmosis system is certified to remove PFAS and will help you eliminate single-use plastic bottles for good!
  • You probably have 62 reusable water bottles stashed in a cabinet in the kitchen anyway. Get them out, rinse them out and use them.
    ○ Make it a part of your daily routine for better health and hydration, not to mention to lessen your impact on the environment. It can   also be great for the office! Hydrated employees make for happier, healthier employees. We have bottled water coolers available for far less than you’d think!

Do your part at home and the office​. It’s easier than you think. We take pride in being an environmentally conscious company. Our 3 & 5 gallon BPA free, fully reusable bottles are used until they break, eliminating thousands of single use bottles in the process. We also feature several of the most efficient water treatment systems on the planet. Our commitment to being green for our community is matched only by our commitment to provide it with clean, safe water.                                             

Wishing you and the planet a healthy, happy, litter-free fall -GWS

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