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Colonels Ban the Bottle Pledge

I _____ (insert name here) _____ pledge to not purchase single use disposable plastic bottles.

Why take the pledge?

  1. Drinking a bottle of water per day will cost you $550 or more over the course of a year (1). The hydration stations on campus provide convenient filtered water and are FREE to use.
  2. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, so it’s just as safe to drink as bottled water. In fact, nearly 40% of bottled water is nothing more than reprocessed tap water (2).
  3. Approximately 17 million barrels of oil (that’s 714 million gallons!) are used each year to produce plastic bottles in the United States. If you include the energy used to refrigerate and transport bottles to consumers across the country, the U.S. bottled water industry is responsible for using approximately 50 million barrels of oil per year (3).
  4. One plastic bottle can take up to 1,000 years to fully degrade, and over 20 billion plastic bottles are thrown away each year (4). This means that every piece of plastic ever manufactured is still in existence.
  5. Plastic bottles photodegrade, rather than biodegrade. This means that, in the presence of the strong ultraviolet rays of sunlight, they break down into successively smaller pieces over time (5). These plastic pieces are then easily washed away into rivers, lakes, and oceans.
  6. Current estimates indicate that there are anywhere from 15-51 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans, and studies project that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 (6).
  7. These small plastic fragments absorb pollutants and environmental toxins- such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) - from the ocean, and are often consumed by marine life. This leads to intestinal injury and death, as the animal’s stomach become so full of plastic that they eventually starve to death (7).
  8. Over time, these toxins build up in an organism’s fatty tissues (bio accumulation) and along the food chain (bio magnification). As a result, organisms that are higher up in the food chain tend to have greater concentrations of toxins present in their bodies (8).
  9. This means that when we consume animals that have ingested plastic (or animals that have eaten animals that have ingested plastic), the same harmful toxins are also being ingested by us.

Take the pledge today to stop using disposable plastic bottles. You can be part of the solution, not the problem.

***After signing the pledge, please stop by the Office of Sustainability (located in the Coates Building, Room 13) to receive a FREE reusable stainless steel water bottle. These can be refilled at one of the filtered hydration stations located across campus (Coates, Whitlock, Powell, Crabbe Library, Combs, Alumni Coliseum, Campus Rec, Moberly, Wallace, Commonwealth Hall, South Hall, New Science Building, and Ault.)

Sources:

  1.  Based on a cost of $1.50 per bottle.  2."The Truth About Tap." (2016). Natural Resources Defense Council.  3. “Bottled Water and Energy: Getting to 17 Million Barrels” (2007). Pacific Institute. 4. Arnold, Emily & Larsen, Janet. “Bottled Water: Pouring Resources Down the Drain” (2006). Earth Policy Institute. 5. Harris, William. “How long does it take for plastics to biodegrade?” (2010). HowStuffWorks.com. 6. Eriksen, Marcus, et al. “Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea.” PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 12, Oct. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111913. 7. “Ocean Plastics Pollution.” Center for Biological Diversity. 8. Toxicological Threats of Plastic.” Environmental Protection Agency.

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