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The Life of a Plastic Water Bottle

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

Photograph by Johan Ordonez/AFP/Getty Images

Company Symbol % Change
Exxon Mobil Corp XOM:US -0.91
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Recycled-Bottle Boat

Recycling is getting cheaper. The packaging industry is hungry for raw material, and rising oil prices make it more cost effective in some countries to recycle PET than to manufacture new plastic.

Still, most countries outside Europe and the U.S. don't have the ability to recycle, or in some places even collect, empty water bottles.

Sometimes the utility of a used lightweight container is immediate. Pictured: A group of men paddle a boat made of plastic bottles, on Lake Amatitlan in Guatemala.

Read more energy & sustainability news.