Refill NOT Landfill

Remember those 6 Rs—Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle & Rot?

This month we highlight “Refill NOT Landfill.” Sponsored by the City of Lebanon and the Co-op Food Stores, the campaign encourages reducing, recycling, and reusing your waste during the month of April. It’s a good time to rethink the first 3Rs—refuse, reduce, and reuse. This month we can take a small step in honor of Earth Day—rethinking how we drink our water!

Starting April 1, take the pledge to Refill and NOT Landfill at:

Now don’t stop drinking water, but when you’re having a sip, think about the following:

If offered a plastic water bottle, can you refuse it?

If you do use a plastic water bottle, can you reduce the number you use?

Do you have a reusable container that you could use for water? 

Any of these actions will reduce the amount of plastic bottles ending up in the landfill. Any step we take, no matter what it is, will be important as we think as a community and country about the future of our waste disposal.  

The Problem: 

  • In 2020, it was estimated the average American used 167 disposable water bottles in a year, but only recycled 38. And, oh by the way, China is no longer accepting U.S. plastics!
  • In the United States, consumers go through 1,500 plastic water bottles every second!
  • Even in its smallest form, plastic will never biodegrade.

So what’s the cost of bottled water?

The Financial Cost

On average, a 20-ounce bottle of water costs approximately $1.50. Translate this to gallons and now the water costs approximately $9.60 per gallon when consumed in bulk form. In other words, we are overpaying for that single plastic bottle of water!   

The Environmental Cost

  • Each time we use bottled water instead of tap, the environment pays for it. Single-use water bottles are one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution. Consider the wildlife affected by plastic pollution: over 1 million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles and birds) are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean. It is estimated that there are 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world.
  • America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. That’s not including the oil used for transportation.
  • Plastic leeches toxins into the water, which has been linked to health problems such as reproductive issues and cancer.

What’s this Mean to Us?

We all know hydration is important for our health and there are so many benefits. Let’s say most people need about 8 glasses of water a day, or 64 fluid ounces. Sixty-four fluid ounces a day, using a 16.9 oz. plastic bottle, equates to four plastic bottles a day!

Although 100 percent of plastic water bottles are recyclable, it’s estimated a mere 20 percent of water bottles are recycled, with the country’s landfills full of nearly 2 million tons of discarded plastic water bottles. A staggering statistic, right?

The Solution:

Step 1:  Consider buying in bulk. Rather than using a standard water bottle, which is 16.9 ounces, try a 5-gallon drum of water instead. You could save 38 water bottles from the landfill and money too!

Step 2: By using your own refillable water container, you would eliminate plastic containers in the landfill and save money!

Step 3: Fill up with tap water!

Step 4: Comfortable with tap? Ask for tap water when you dine out!

A No Brainer, Right?

Whichever step you might consider, you will save money and positively affect the environment.
Check out the refillable container options at the Co-op Food Stores! 



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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at