In recent years, there has been an increase in environmental awareness among Americans. Clean energy is a serious topic, going green at work is becoming a more popular initiative, and it’s no longer hip to drive a large SUV down the street to pick up groceries when more efficient hybrids are now mainstream. This trend is seeping into government; consider Concord, Massachusetts, where it’s now illegal to purchase plastic water bottles. Maybe there’s finally something good spreading in the water?
Water is a basic earthly gift, but sometimes we take it for granted. Thanks to pollution and bad environmental practices, are water has suffered. From bacterias and poisons, water hasn’t exactly enjoyed the purest of perceptions as of late. Understanding that protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility, here are three ways the average consumer and business owner can do their part and continue influencing change in his or her community:
Reusable water bottles
It’s hard to debate the convenience of carrying around a water bottle. As much as we’d like to see the plastic bottle disappear, we know this is just not a realistic dream. With everyone constantly on the go, having an easy way to hydrate is essential. However, purchasing disposable plastic bottles on a daily basis is costly and the waste piles up in landfills across the world. Recycling plants simply cannot keep up. On top of that, Americans purchase nearly 51 billion bottles annually and recycle less than one quarter of them (according to CNBC).
People have begun to switch to reusable water bottles to reduce their consumption of plastics. There is a wide array of container options, with some bottles even tracking how many plastics are kept out of landfills with each use. From The 999Bottle has three numbered rings that rotate, and lets people know exactly how many containers they’ve kept out of landfills every time they fill it up. Brands like Klean Kanteen, Camelbak, Brita, Nalgene, and Kor offer sleek and stylish solutions.
Point-of-use water coolers
Business owners who switch to bottleless water coolers make a bigger impact than most employees know. Instead of using plastic jug water dispensers, which require constant deliveries (emissions), new jugs often mix germs and bacteria into the cooler’s water basin. BPA anyone? A point of use cooler is a closed system that doesn’t open up the water supply to contamination. Instead, it filters the existing water supply already available in the building. For those who think bottled water is the freshest water you can get, a POU cooler can prove that wrong.
A huge amount of the plastic in the landfills aren’t from the hand-held water bottles, but these giant, hard to manage and store thick plastic jugs. Not only are these a burden after the fact, but they’re costly to produce. For every jug of water manufactured, an equal amount of water is used to create the plastic.
When it comes to providing employees with high-quality water and influencing social change through eco-friendly behaviors, having top-of-the-line filtration stations in the office is a good signal.
Business owners may want to start an active recycling program in the workplace to deflect the implications of continued use of disposable plastics. When professionals take a stand against poor waste management efforts and begin recycling programs of their own, the practices may follow employees home and influence their actions.