The Dirty Truth about Recycled Plastics

The Dirty Truth about Recycled Plastics

I was on an island in the middle of the ocean, a few miles outside of Belize, no people for miles, yet there were piles of plastic bottles, bags and other plastic garbage washed up on the shore. This was a few years ago and it really opened my eyes to the amount of “recyclable waste” we create, as well the fact that even though many plastics are being touted as biodegradable they never truly go back to nature – lets face it, they are made of materials that are not natural to the environment in the first place.

An article from Yale Environment 360 speaks about how these recycled plastics are frequently not recycled and how even the biodegradable bottles plastics never truly break down completely.

The article states:

The vast majority of such single-use plastic items never get recycled, and even “degradable” plastics may not degrade all that well. On top of that, product life-cycle assessments, which are on the verge of becoming more commonly available and used in the marketplace, do not include either litter or biodegradability as factors.

Filtrete Water Station

I see the newest thing –  the reusable steel water bottle – in stores these days and I can’t help think they are the newest green wash. They are said to be a great alternative  – if you replace 500 plastic bottles…

When I think about what goes into the manufacturing of these bottles I struggle to think they are a good alternative. Besides, I often take a reusable bottle of water with me when I have to be away from the house for an extended period of time, but what do you do when this runs out? This is not a solution for me. I require several bottles easily available.

I am ashamed to confess that there have been times when I had no choice but to pick up bottled water. Yes, I recycle but this is not enough. Fortunately, I have finally found an alternative that I can live with. It is a Filtrete Water Station Set (no, this is not an advertisement, I don’t get anything by telling you about this). This allows me to have several bottles of filtered water in my vehicle or in a backpack at all times. I also have a few in the fridge ready to grab and go. The features are:

  • One Docking Station and Lid, One Filtrete™ Fast Flow Filter, Four – 16.9 oz (500 mL) Water Bottles
  • Filters from tap directly into four, reusable bottles in seconds!
  • Bottles are BPA-free, dishwasher safe and include a leak-proof cap
  • Save up to 3,000 bottles of water per year

This product has allowed me to take the pledge to Be Bottled Water Free! This is a pledge from the Environmental Working Group and states:

I pledge to make 2011 a year of cleaner, safer drinking water. I’ll pack my reusable water bottle to save money and skip plastic bottles whenever I can. With EWG’s help, I’ll engage my community to go plastic-free, with filtered tap water at work and in restaurants, and by lobbying my supplier to make my tap water as pure and contaminant-free as possible.

A lot of eco aware people are switching to a steel bottle and if this is your choice please keep on using it. Who am I to judge. Maybe it is a good alternative to the disposable bottles. But if you are like me and you are not a fan of these newest replacements, find a BPA free, re-usable alternative. Having more than one in places such as a vehicle or a backpack will help you deal with the times where you might otherwise reach for store-bought water.

Whatever way you find that works for you the best alternative is always a reusable bottle. And most of all, if you do decide to use a disposable bottled water, then please recycle.


  1. You keep it up now, understand? Really good to know.