New Flint Water Crisis — What To Do With All Those Water Bottles?

The Flint water crisis has elicited the help of many celebrities, some natives of the city and some not. In the midst of what has finally been called a state of emergency, millions of bottles of water are being transported to Flint, Michigan, for consumption and use by residents until their local water contamination issues can be solved. Some are critical of this plan to bring bottled water to Flint because, according to Michael Moore and many others, now Flint has a whole new problem on their hands. What are we going to do with millions of empty water bottles consumed by Flint residents?

Now that the spotlight is shining on the Flint water crisis, aid is coming in the form of millions of dollars worth of bottled water. The rapper The Game stepped up with $1 million worth of bottled water for the city and Detroit Pistons owner one-upped the rapper by pledging another $10 million to help with the current water crisis. Truckloads of bottled water have arrived in Flint, easing the crush of the ongoing water crisis that still hasn’t been resolved in the Michigan city.

The bottled water donations certainly help the residents of Flint who cannot drink the water pumped into their homes. The new question is, what to do with the millions of plastic bottles that are about to become a whole new environmental problem for the region?

According to NBC News, it only took 24 hours to fill a huge recycling bin with 680 pounds of empty water bottles. Young’s Environmental Cleanup donated four large recycling containers to collect empty water bottles, and now the city faces issues of how to get rid of the bottles, which are piling up faster than the city can dispose of them.

One Flint, Michigan, native has been very vocal about the current efforts to deal with the Flint water crisis. Michael Moore is speaking out about the current bottled water donations, warning of a whole new environmental disaster if trucking in water is the government solution to the lead-poisoned local drinking water. Instead, Moore is urging residents to demand the arrest of Michigan governor Rick Snyder. Additionally, Moore wants the federal government to step in and evacuate all Flint residents who want to leave and then force the state to pay for a new, safer water system.


Concerns over the millions of water bottles that will now be overflowing in Flint recycle bins and garbage cans is growing as trucks continue to bring water in. Efforts to recycle most of the water bottles in Flint is currently underway, but there is still a lot of concern over the ability for Flint and surrounding areas to process the huge amount of plastic now overtaking the garbage cans and recycle bins in the city.

What happens if a good portion of those water bottles end up in local landfills? According to Young’s Environmental Cleanup, a company that has been very instrumental in recent Flint recycling efforts, it can take up to 450 years to completely break down the plastic in the empty water bottles. They warn that with the huge increase in bottled water coming into Flint coupled with the scant effort of local residents to recycle, an overflow of trash due to the Flint water crisis is a real problem.

[Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images]