Journey of a Plastic Bottle

Traveling is not something exclusive to humans. In fact, all living creatures and inanimate objects go through journeys of their own that are little known to humans. Plastic bottles, for example, are always traveling around. You can see them in the city, and even in the ocean. Although they might have traveled thousands of miles, their journeys are always dull and repetitive. How can we change their fate?

Let WHOLENESS take you on the journey of a plastic bottle.


Beverages in plastic bottles are sold everywhere in the city. The first plastic bottle was produced quite recently in 1973 by engineer Nathaniel Wyeth with polyethylene terephthalate to replace relatively costly glass bottles. Due to their lightness and durability, plastic bottles were even used by airlines to carry fuel in the early days. Nowadays, plastic bottles are so easily accessible. Every year, nearly 300 million tons of plastic bottles are produced, which is close to the total weight of the global human population. To a certain extent, plastic bottles have completely changed the everyday life of our modern society.


Plastic bottles go straight into the trash after a mere 10 minutes of serving you a drink. With the widespread use of plastic bottles, manufacturers have shifted from manufacturing durable versions to producing those that are for single-use. Based on statistics from environmental groups, of all the plastic bottles ever produced, only 9% have been recycled and about 12% have been incinerated, while the remaining 79% have been sent to landfills or dumped in the natural environment.


Every year, eight million plastic bottles flush through the rivers into the ocean, where they roam freely and endlessly, awaiting to disappear in space and time. But in fact, plastic bottles don’t disappear, they only shrink in size. It takes almost 350 years for them to completely decompose under the sun and waves. And even after breaking down, the tiny plastic particles make their way into marine creatures and eventually end up in the food chain, ultimately affecting the entire world. If current trends continue, there will be more plastic bottles than fish in the ocean by 2050.


The journey of plastic bottles all too often is a dull one, ending with the bottles floating in the sea, waiting to be broken into micro particles. But the fact is: plastic bottles present many opportunities. Going through large-scale recycling and upcycling, they can be turned into things that are useful in our daily lives. When plastic bottles are transformed, the journey they go through becomes more meaningful.

Read Upcycling Plastic Bottles for real life upcycling examples.