Now here’s something interesting. Guess what the main ingredient for the plastic bags at Wal-Mart, and the bottle water that you’ve been drinking. Turns out it’s petroleum– the same thing that’s costing us more at the pump…
Bottom line, the production of 31.2 billion liters of water for the U.S. bottled water market took roughly 17.6 million barrels of oil. The calculation is explained in more detail at the Pacific Institute’s information page under the energy requirements for plastic bottles.
The simple break down is 3.4 megajoules of energy to produce a water bottle, cap and packaging with a barrel of oil producing about 6 thousand megajoules. Taking those numbers into account you arrive at 17.6 million barrels of oil, enough oil to run 1.5 million cars on U.S. roadways for an entire year.
So there really is something that you and the government could do to make an impact today. It could do something about plastic bags and bottled water and that would not only reduce the amount of waste, but it would slowly change the cost of gasoline.
However, I’ll be the first to say that the plastic bags are so much more convenient at the store– not when you bring them back to recycle them, though. But perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate getting reusable bags. Or maybe we should just go back to paper?