That’s the number of plastic water bottles that Americans use—an hour. Yes, you read that right. Nearly three million bottles, every hour of every day. So where does all that plastic go?


Roughly seven out of every 10 bottles are trashed. And from the landfill, many plastic water bottles end up in the ocean. 5 Gyres has historically supported bills to help change this reality: This year, we have endorsed AB 319 (Stone), which requires that all single-use plastic bottles sold in California have the cap connected to the bottle to prevent litter, increase recycling, and help the state reach its 75% recycling goal. Just like changing aluminum cans from pull to pop tops in the 1970s solved a health and safety problem, tethering the cap to the bottle will decrease the bottle cap and lid litter that pollutes our environment. We also supported a 2011 bill to ban plastic water bottles on federal lands, which was reversed by the National Park Service in 2017

Consumers know that plastic water bottles are bad. A 2018 Mintel Water Insights study found that 29% of those who purchase and drink bottled water say that drinking it is bad for the environment, and 1 in 4 people have stopped purchasing bottled water because it is plastic. 

The thing to remember about single-use plastic water bottles is: You can avoid them. Pledge to go #plasticfree: Keep a reusable cup in your car or bag, and fill it up on the go. Not only does this make good environmental sense, it’s good for your bottom line: Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than tap water—switching can save a lot of money! 

Here are four more #plasticfree actions you can take today:

  • Use a reusable water bottle to talk with your friends and family about the environmental impact of using single-use plastic.
  •  Sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop on the fight against plastic bottles!
  • Check out our Plastic Free Shopping Guide for suggestions on how to live without throwaway cups.