WASHINGTON — An innovative design and a creative concept could be the answer to one of the world’s most troubling environmental problems: plastic pollution.
The U.S. uses an estimated 50 billion water bottles each year, and 75 percent of them end up in landfills, where they take an estimated 450 years to break down.
Manufacturing water bottles is another environmental headache. The Earth Policy Institute reports the U.S. bottled-water industry uses roughly 50 million barrels of oil each year to make, refrigerate and transport bottles of water.
Renee Sharp, research director at the Environmental Working Group, says concerns about water-bottle waste don’t stop there.
“Most plastic doesn’t really ever break down; it just gets chewed up into smaller and smaller bits,” she says, saying plastic has been found in the stomachs of birds, fish and other marine life.
“When you put that all together, it is creating this really, really massive environmental problem.”
But a European design team poses a question that could chip away at plastic pollution: What if you could have your water bottle and eat it, too?