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One Billion Water Bottles Trashed in California Yearly

Sacramento, CA— An on-the-go society combined with masses of health conscious consumers has turned the single serve bottle of water into a national icon. Now, according to a report released by the California Department of Conservation (CDOC), billions of these empty “icons” are causing serious environmental problems.

According to the report, more than 1 billion water bottles are winding up in the trash in California each year. That translates into nearly 3 million empty water bottles going to the trash every day and an estimated $26 million in unclaimed California Refund Value deposits annually. If recycled, the raw materials from those bottles could be used to make 74 million square feet of carpet, 74 million extra large T-shirts or 16 million sweaters, among other things.

Instead, they are swallowing landfill space, increasing air pollution and destroying the ozone layer.

“The sight of a water bottle in someone’s hand has become as common as a cell phone,” said Darryl Young, Director of the CDOC. “In California, one is usually in the right, and the other is in the left. What people don’t realize is that these water bottles are recyclable and have detrimental environmental impacts if thrown in the trash.”

With their popularity increasing and summer right around the corner, single serve water bottles are poised to cause even greater environmental concerns if recycling rates go unchanged. According to the report, only 16 percent of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles sold in California are being recycled. At that rate, the amount of water bottles thrown in the trash ten years from now would be enough to create a two lane, six-inch deep highway that stretches the entire coast of California.

The bottles also present significant air pollution concerns as many are incinerated with regular trash. Anyone who has seen a plastic bottle melt knows of the toxic smoke and fumes it can create. These fumes not only pose health risks, they create “green house gases” that attack the ozone layer.

Consumers can call 1-800-RECYCLE (California only) or visit www.bottlesandcans.com.


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