by Inês Sarti Pascoal, Portugal
The DREAM team is working on a project about recycling plastic bottles. The participants were interviewed to check theirs habits about the use of plastic bottles and some of them gave ideas of how to reduce the amount of plastic bottles in the world, to avoid the 30 billion plastic bottles that could go to trash every week.
A group of 15 volunteers is in Kalamata, Greece, to work on the problem about plastic bottles. During 1 month, this group will work with KANE and Radikala associations, an Erasmus+ project called DREAM. The aim of the project is to raise awareness about the use of plastic. When presenting to the group of volunteers, Hamid Roshangar, the head of this project, said “we don’t believe in recycling”. Why would he say that? Let’s check it out.
Consumption of plastic bottles
The 15 volunteers of the project, plus 5 members of the organization, were interviewed, in order to understand their habits about the consumption of plastic bottles. As we can see in the graphic below, in the whole amount of plastic bottles that people buy, 71% are water bottles, and 29% are of juices or soda.
If we think about people’s health, this could represent a good result, as the water is the chosen drink. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2014), one of the general dietary advice for adults is to drink plenty of water every day.
And what about the material that comes with all that water that we need as individuals? On the table below, it’s expressed how many plastic bottles, in average, each person buys. It’s about 3 plastic bottles of water per week and if we count with the juices and sodas, the number raises to 4 plastic bottles per week per person.
If every people on the planet (7 628 997 526*) bought 4 plastic bottles per week, there would be 30 515 990 104 bottles. This means:
30 BILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES WOULD GO TO TRASH EVERY WEEK!!!
The rule of the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycling, appeal for the people to first reduce their consumption, better than recycling, which means we have to deal with the trash we already produced.
How to reduce the use of plastic bottles
Marco, one of the volunteers of the DREAM project, sees on the glass bottles an alternative choice to the plastic ones, but he also refers that this ones are more expensive, and not easy to carry. For Alba, refilled bottles are a good option, because they become cheaper than the plastic ones, they don’t break and are not so heavy.
According to Francesca, one of the volunteers that uses a refill bottle, in order to stop consuming plastic water bottles, you should have a good water tape, not only quality, but also taste.
In Sweden, for example, the supermarkets make a discount when you return your plastic bottles, so it is an encouragement to people become aware of the problem. Josefine also explains that she uses a refill bottle because they are less expensive, if the tap water is drinkable, you don’t have to buy water bottled, and because “if we don’t do something about the plastic, we’ll soon have more plastic in the ocean than fish”.
So, what can we do to avoid plastic bottles? Check if in our homes, in our towns, in our countries, if the water is good to drink. Then, everybody should know that they are free to buy plastic bottles, but also everyone has the freedom to use a refill bottle.
* 7 628 997 526 people in the world, according to Worldometers, 14-06-2018, at 11:07.