In honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2023, it’s important to look at our own participation in increasing plastic waste, which rapidly augments the single biggest threat to our planet’s health—climate change. 

From microplastics found in our fish, to everyday product packaging, and single-use plastic bottles, the task to decrease and eventually eliminate harmful plastic that contains forever-lasting chemicals can be overwhelming. 

So, let’s recycle everything you think you know about recycling in our own town. The City of Austin is committed to a zero waste goal to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90% by the year 2040. The diversion rate at the end of fiscal year of 2021 was approximately 42%, which means we each need to do our part in meeting that goal—starting today. 

This is why a portion of the zero waste strategic plan is to design and support products for the environment, meaning products that are recyclable, compostable, and reusable that allow us to step away from single-use.

An Austin-based company is doing just that—aiding in the current fight against landfill overflow. According to lifestyle expert, Sarah Karger, “The Texas-born company, Richard’s Rainwater, is thinking about multiple facets of Earth-friendly innovation from their aluminum and glass bottle packaging, to their continually added rainwater collection sites that reduce their carbon footprint, to the cleanliness and sustainable source of the actual water within the multi-use, recyclable bottles.”

Richard’s Rainwater is the first rainwater to be approved for human consumption by the FDA, and the only nationally distributed, truly renewable/sustainable bottled water that exceeds the strictest bottled water standards with minimal processing. 

“We’re seeing more water issues arise daily due to beverage companies’ source of water coming from overdrawn aquifers, damaged pipes, and more,” Karger said. “On top of these continual water crises, single-use plastic bottles are congesting our landfills, oceans, and waterways.” 

With pure rainwater, Richard’s is able to hydrate 8% of Texas with just the amount of water that hits the roof of their latest collection site every year. Over the next decade, a billion gallons of clean water will be collected without ever hitting the ground.

In alignment with Austin’s compostable and recyclable product design, we’ve already seen a shift in purchasing, with 85 percent of people shifting their buying habits to include more sustainable options. Richard’s Rainwater is just one example of a company that supports Austin’s campaign of keeping at least 90% of discarded materials out of the landfills. 

The next time you plan to grab a single-use bottle at the store, remember what you’re contributing to, and look for other sustainable alternatives this Earth month and all year long.