Rise Above Plastics

The Surfrider Foundation has started a national campaign to “Rise above Plastics”.

“To reduce the impacts of plastics in the marine environment by raising awareness about the dangers of plastic pollution and by advocating for a reduction of single-use plastics and the recycling of all plastics.”

To this end Surfrider Maui has advocated for the ban on single-use plastic bags as given out by stores. The County of Kauai passed an ordinance that banned the use of such bags that was implemented January 11, 2012. We are now fighting against any amendments to that ordinance.

Surfrider Maui will also trying to stop the use of plastic bottled drinking water. Not only are the plastic bottles bad for the environment, but chemicals that leach from the plastic cause serious health problems.

Americans drank 8.8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2007, up more than 7% from 2006.. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy.

  1. It takes approximately three 8oz bottles of water to make one disposable plastic bottle…so that we can get 8oz of hydration.
  2. Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil – enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year – are used to make plastic water bottles, while transporting these bottles burns even more oil. Imagine a water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce and transport the bottle.
  3. 40 billion plastic bottles plastic bottles end up in landfills each year, costing cities as much as 70 million in cleanup costs annually. Is this really how we want to spend our tax dollars?
  4. In 2006, the equivalent of 2 billion half-liter bottles of water were shipped to U.S. ports, releasing thousands of tons of global warming pollution and other air pollution.
  5. 5.) * The bottled water industry spends millions of dollars a year to convince us that their product is somehow safer or healthier than tap water, when in fact that’s just not true.
  6. Disposable bottled water has far less rigorous testing requirements than city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants. There are no requirements for bottled water to be disinfected or tested for parasites such as cryptosporidium or giardia.
  7. Three out of 4 Americans drink bottled water. 1 in 5 will only drink bottled water, (although it’s far less regulated than tap water) and in blind taste tests across the county, 2/3 of people couldn’t even tell the difference
  8. The irony here, of course, is that about 40% of bottled water is actually tap water, which is typically free and is much better regulated and more rigorously tested than bottled water.
  9. In the US, bottled water corporations such as Nestle are draining billions of gallons of water from rural communities around the country, limited or depleting well water available to the citizens who live there.
  10. Unfortunately, only about 15% of plastic bottles are recycled. The rest are sent to landfills. Or, even worse, they end up as trash on the land and in rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
  11. BONUS: Plastic debris in the environment can take between 400 and 1,000 years to degrade.