Why We Should (Or Shouldn’t) Crush Water Bottles After Use?

Why We Should (Or Shouldn’t) Crush Water Bottles After Use?

Mineral water in plastic bottle is one of the most consumed product in the world. In fact, the plastic bottles contribute a lot in the sum of all plastic waste in this world. Should we be concerned about this? Of course we should.

In many countries, below mineral water bottles, which usually come in plastic form, there is a short notice saying “crush before dispose”. The question is, why should we crush plastic bottles before we dispose it into trash bin?

Many people are still confused about this thing, and because they are confused they don’t do it. Many of us are still throwing away whole plastic bottle in the trash bin without crushing them, even though it actually has a solid reason.

It might be a small action, but actually it contributes a lot to us. So, make it clear, we try to mention some reasons why it is better to crush empty plastic bottles before throwing it away into trash bins.


Water bottle in plastic bag (Altus AFB)
Water bottle in plastic bag (Altus AFB)

Without crushing plastic bottles, there is a risk that the bottle will be reused. Reusing plastic bottle is not a good option, and throwing away plastic bottles after only one use is neither a good thing for the environment. So, the only option left is to recycle it.

But can we recycle plastic bottles after being crushed? We definitely can, and in fact it helps the process a lot. You should know that to recycle those plastic bottles into a new bottle, they need to be crushed and then shredded into pieces.

In addition to that, crushed plastic water bottles take up a lot less space than whole plastic bottles in the trash bins. It will let the trash bin to accommodate more crushed plastic bottles or any other kinds of trash.

In this case, it can also encourage more people to throw garbage away into the trash bins because they see there is still space in the bins. Furthermore, this simple action can help us avoid littering the environment.

Indeed, stopping the consumption of plastic is the best way to make this world better. But if there is no other option available, what we should do is to make sure those plastics don’t end up littering the environment. As we said before, this seems like a small action, but it has the potentials to make us live in a better world.

Germ Colony

Recycling Water Bottles by Mr.TinDC

Plastic bottle is a perfect place for germs to live and reproduce. Its humidity and slightly warmer temperature caused by minor greenhouse effect inside the clear surface is a good environment for germs to build a neighborhood.

A study conducted found that a water bottle can contain up to 900,000 colonies of germs per square centimeter, on average. And from those whooping 900,000 colonies, researchers stated that 60% of them can make you sick.

When the plastic bottles are thrown away, there is a possibility that it will get into water bodies. In this case, those germs will contaminate the water. This is how water bodies get contaminated by germs from plastic bottles.

The thing is, with more surface to grow, there will be more germs in the whole plastic bottles. But when you crush plastic bottles, you create a little less supportive environment for the germs to build their kingdom.

Not only because there is less flat surface in crushed plastic bottles, but also because you let less surface for sunlight to get in and create a mini ‘greenhouse effect’ in it. Although it may seem insignificant, but you should consider that there are millions of plastic bottles being thrown away every day.


PETE by KalinaSoftware
PETE by KalinaSoftware

The next thing about crushing plastic bottle is about preventing it from being misused. We know that plastic water bottle is a simple container that can be used to contain almost anything that comes in liquid form.

In many countries, especially developing countries like Indonesia, there are many small startup companies or merchants that sell their products in used plastic bottles. This is the misusage that we are trying to avoid, looking on the hygiene factor and microplastic release potential.

There are many people who still think that used plastic bottle can still be used for several times more before it becomes a threat to our health. While in fact, just after the first use, plastic bottle is already a dangerous thing for us.

Kid-with-trash-piles (DoDLive)
Kid with trash piles (DoDLive)

Even when those plastic bottles are not used to contain beverages, those used plastic bottles might still be used as ketchup bottles. This poses bigger threat since using plastic bottles as ketchup bottles means the bottle is going to be used longer, and in many occurrences the bottle will keep being refilled.

A crushed water bottle will not be chosen as a “duplicate packaged drinking water bottle”. It is quite reasonable since with less attractive appearance, or crushed, it will be less marketable. In this case, maybe we can save other people’s lives just by crushing one water bottle.

Know The Flow

Trash (AF Mil)
Trash (AF Mil)

The point in crushing plastic bottle is about making it less useful in its condition, so the only option is let it be recycled in the right recycling facility. But there is one thing you should know about this. You should also know the flow of your used plastic bottle after going into the trash bin.

If you live in a place whose community use single stream recycling, then you would better not crush your plastic bottle flat. The reason is because when you crush your plastic bottle into a flat thing, those bottles might end up in paper stream.

On the other hand, if your community use multi stream recycling method, then you should crush your plastic bottle as small as possible. In multi stream recycling facility, the garbage will be sorted depending on its material.

Thus, the most effective way to make sure your plastic bottle is crush it as small as possible, but don’t flatten it. In the end, we don’t encourage you to keep consuming mineral water in plastic bottle. Using personal drinking bottle is the best way to make sure you don’t put more pressure to this planet in any way.





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.