Where Do Plastic Water Bottles Come From And Where Do They Go?

- Aug 12, 2019-

How is it Made?

The plastic used in bottles used for packaging water and drinks is usually polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is a polymer which comes from petroleum hydrocarbons. PET is polymerised carefully to manufacture plastic which is then molded into bottles.

Bottled water first hit the markets in 1940 and since the petrochemical materials take hundreds of years to decompose, most of these water bottles, with or without water, still exist on the planet.

Surprisingly, the PET is fully recyclable. The bottles can be remade with the same plastic material called RPet. But the majority of brands refuse it just because they can’t compromise the shiny and perfect look of the bottles. 

Where does These Water Bottles end up?

They do get recycled but only around 7% of the ones collected for recycling actually get recycled. Brands do not want to invest in collecting and sorting bottles and people are just not interested in it.

Most of the water bottles end up in landfills and the ocean. The US is the biggest consumer of plastic bottles and their massive amount of plastic along with the plastic from other countries has resulted in a huge patch of garbage in the mid-ocean, called the great pacific garbage patch.

The developed countries often ship their waste to other countries like China, India, Indonesia etc. The imported waste along with the country’s own waste generally end up in huge mountains of trash in isolated areas. The poor people work hard to sort the trash for recycling or burning with bare hands and feet.

The sea animals and birds also suffer extensively due to plastic in the water. Many species are on the verge of extinction due to choking on plastic materials.