A Perspective Study

Plastic Bottle Oil Consumption Visualization

Plastic bottles are convenient. But their convenience and proliferation in the market blinds us to the implications inherent in their production, short-lived usage, and the long-term waste they become.

Americans alone pile 29 billion bottles per year on the Earth’s surface. Per year, this requires 17 million barrels of crude oil for production. Put another way, it’s enough oil to drive 1 million vehicles for 12 months (1). Put yet another way, if you filled a water bottle a quarter of the way up with oil, it would be about equivalent to the amount of oil needed to produce that same bottle (2). And that is only for the production of plastic. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that the total energy used to pump, process, transport and refrigerate bottled water (or any other bottled drink) is over 50 million barrels of oil annually (4). Ultimately, this results in thousands of…

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