The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle

By Peter S. Green - 2012-10-02T21:18:26Z

Photograph by Simon Butterworth

Company Symbol % Change
Exxon Mobil Corp XOM:US -1.93
3 of 19

Petrochemical Abundance

Producing plastic bottles consumes the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil a year in the U.S. alone, not including transportation. U.S. bottled water drinkers expanded their intake by 4 percent last year.

In this time-lapse image, smoke pours from the stacks of Exxon's Mossmoran refinery in Cowdenbreath, Scotland. Hydrocarbons from North Sea gas fields are turned into liquid ethylene and then PET, the plastic used to make most beverage bottles.

Read more energy & sustainability news.