Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Oct. 6, 2008

A plastic problem

by Lucas Alvarado-Farrar, Online Features Editor
Going green is in. The new environmental friendly label has become the hot new item in American industry. From cars to meals, everyone says their product is helping create a sustainable planet. But despite all this feel-good tree-hugging, society has failed to end one of its most damaging practices.

The water bottle industry, one of America's fastest growing and most profitable industries, has boomed in recent years with the popularization of the most basic necessity water. Creating over 38 billion bottles in plastic waste each year, Americans are plowing through water bottles at unprecedented rates. The biggest irony is that 24 percent of this bottled water, which many believe is healthier than that at the water fountain, is the same stuff that flows from the tap of your sink.

From the soccer mom minivan to the high school lunch line, Blazers are being caught up in this newest and almost impulsive craze. While water fountains are readily available throughout the school, Blazers decided to spend $1.25 to buy bottled water that they could otherwise get for free. Think about it: if a Blazer were to buy one bottle of water four out of every five days of school for the whole school year (about 144 bottles), they would be spending roughly $180 from Sept. until June. That is $180 that could be spent on shoes, iPods and all those other accessories that we love.

There is also the harm that the bottles cause to the environment. After chugging down that refreshing water, most people I am guilty of it myself trot over to the trash can and toss their drink. Forgetting to recycle the bottles or simply aiming for the trashcan as a measure of convenience, Blazers end up throwing away 100 percent recyclable plastic. You might shrug your shoulders at this and move on, but consider this: America throws away over $1 billion worth of plastic bottles that could be recycled for profit.

For all you thirsty Blazers, the solution is simple. Buy one water bottle, save and reuse it for multiple days. This will not only take a burden off of your wallet, so that you can spend that $180 as you like, but it will clean up the plastic waste that these bottle create. Well, good luck Blazers and remember, save yourself and your environment by cutting back on the amount of bottled water you drink.

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  • hmm on October 6, 2008 at 8:16 PM
    Don't you think that being the umpteenth writer to say this is kind of a drag? Not to mention stand-up comics who see bottled water as an easy target.

  • theres a difference on October 6, 2008 at 9:15 PM
    i dont know about other people, but for me, the bottled water tastes better than the water from the water fountains. though bottled water is more expensive, i do think it is well worth the price to get water that is not chock-full of impurities
  • Nora on October 7, 2008 at 8:24 AM
    Its not about the monetary price. Its about where all those bottles are going. One bottle of water costs the earth a lot more than $1.25 in the long run once it's left in a landfill!
  • sigh on October 9, 2008 at 1:14 PM
  • yeah on October 9, 2008 at 3:50 PM
    While I agree not buying bottled water is a good idea, saving the bottle is not the perfect solution. The latest (and larger) controversy in the industry is the fact that most plastic bottles contain polyethylene terepthalate (PET), which over time and with hear breaks down and gets into whatever you're drinking (ever notice your water tasting sweeter after been left somewhere?). Other plastics contain other toxins with the same issue. Of course, you won't die from them, but you can get headaches. e-379624/The-poison-lurking-plastic-water-bottle.html

    I would go with a more permanent solution, such as a Nalgene (there's controversy here too, but not nearly to the extent of PET) or a BPA free Nalgene if you're feeling really paranoid. Oh, and the water in the fountain at school does suck. I use it for refills, and I can't tell you how specifically, (it may be fluoride, but I've had fluoride water that tasted just fine) but it does.
  • re: hmm on October 11, 2008 at 11:22 AM
    maybe if people listened all the other times that it was said, then writers and comics wouldnt have to keep bringing it up.

    personally, i carry a bottle with me all day and refill it multiple times during the day, and its fantastic, and more convenient then anything else.
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