Be Bottle Free

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Yale University 2013-2014
On October 28 Earth Day Network organized the launch event for the #BEBOTTLEFREE Campaign on Yale's Campus as part of Celebrate Sustsinability Week. For a recap of the event along with pictures, check out our blog!

Most people understand that plastic bottles are wasteful.  Any product that is used once before disposal cannot be considered sustainable. But, did you know just how wasteful single use plastic bottles are and how much they can negatively impact the environment? Take a look at some of these stats:

  • It takes one plastic bottle approximately 450 years to decompose when sitting in a landfill.  This means that every single piece of plastic ever created still exists today.
  • Making a plastic bottle is incredibly labour intensive.  Every manufactured ton of plastic produces about 3 tons of CO2, which can stay in the atmosphere for over 100 years. 
  • Around the world 340 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills every year. In the US alone more than 12% of the 2kg of municipal waste produced per person per day are made up of plastics.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all rubbish floating on the ocean’s surface.   One of the most notorious disposal sites for plastic waste is known as the Pacific Garbage Patch, located in the North Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Garbage Patch is about 696,200 km², which is roughly size of Texas and is made up of plastic debris.
  • Globally, more than 460 billion beverage bottles and cans are manufactured and sold each year. This is equivalent to four plastic bottles for every person who has ever existed on Earth!

Sadly, recycling is not the answer. Today, 80% of Americans have easy access to plastics recycling opportunities. Despite this figure, only 6.5% of plastics generated in the U.S. are recycled; 85.8% are landfilled. Even when recycling is successful, the costs to the planet are high, as millions of gallons of water and fuel are required. In truth, recycling has given manufacturers of disposable items a way to essentially market overconsumption as environmentalism. 

The only real way to address the environmental problems caused by plastic is to limit or ban the number of bottles that consumers can purchase.  Major cities like San Francisco and Seattle have already taken the steps to ban single use plastic water bottle sales, and college campuses across the country are getting on board as well.

That is why Earth Day Network is excited to announce our plans to raise awareness on plastic bottle issues at Yale University.  For the 2013-2014 school year, in coordination with student groups and administration members, we will be organizing events, speakers, gatherings, and more on campus to educate people on the environmental impact of single use plastic bottles and alternatives to their use.  The first events will begin in September.  If you are interested in getting involved please contact John Maleri, Associate Director of Earth Day at Earth Day Network at