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The Bottled Water Debacle

You might think that reducing the availability of bottled water would cut down on plastic waste and increase the use of water fountains and reusable bottles. Not so, according to a recent article published on Glamour. According to new research conducted at the University of Vermont, which banned the sales of single-use bottled water, the ban backfired significantly. The study showed the lack of availability of single-use bottled water caused consumers to turn toward less healthy options, resulting in a 25 percent increase in the sales of sugary drinks. The water bottle ban also correlated to an 8.5 percent increase in plastic bottle waste. 

Without easy access to water, people in the study tended to turn to other sugared or artificially sugared drinks that were convenient, instead of seeking out a water fountain or carrying a reusable bottle. Because convenience is a driving factor in these sales, research suggests that making less wasteful options more readily available is the way to reduce waste and keep people drinking healthful beverages. 

So how do we reduce waste, keep people drinking healthfully, and help our environment? Researchers have suggested greater access to recycling is the single most important step in reducing plastic waste. Additionally, education about the benefits of reusable water bottles may help consumers become more conscientious about their beverages. Bottles like S’well offer insulation, repeated use, and style. You can match your water bottle to your personal preferences, which definitely makes you more likely to continue to carry it. According to their Wikipedia page, S’well bottles can keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. So really, there’s no excuse not to keep one in  your bag rather than trekking to the vending machine.

Everyone loves to save money and help the planet, especially if they can do both at the same time. By focusing on recycling programs and still offering people the convenience to which they are accustomed, instead of implementing bans on certain items, we can all help the environment!

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