I started reading Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry and it’s been both an eye-opening and learning experience. In short, plastics are just terrible for our health and our environment. This book outlines every single detail about that truth and how to live without it. As impossible as it seems, it is something that can be done.
One chapter that I want to share with you all, is the chapter about bottled water. How convenient is it to have bottled water? I always have a bottle around me during the majority of the day. We have bottled water at work, in the vending machines, at fast food places, and even at home. It’s just an every day necessity.
There are a lot of myths about using bottled water but the facts are 1) they are less regulated than the water that runs from our kitchen faucets and public drinking fountains; 2) most people can’t taste the different between bottled and tap; 3) the inconveniences created by our dependence on bottled water outweigh the few conveniences it provides; and lastly 4) the reliance on bottled water companies undermines our public water infrastructure. If you didn’t already know, plastic is not biodegradable. When we throw away a plastic bottle is never actually goes away.They go to landfills after landfills and they are just covered up by a plastic tarp and will eventually descend into the ground. They are still there, just not seen. Then, neighborhoods and communities are built on top of them and the vicious cycle starts all over again. It’s rather disturbing actually. So as a personal life mission of mine (whether you choose to join me or not), I want to take a mini-pledge to stop using bottled water.
Here’s how I’m going to do it:
One way to drop the water bottle habit is to purchase a water filtration system for the kitchen sink. It is less expensive in the long run, especially on our planet. Seems easy right? The most popular is Brita, but they have do not have a recycling procedure so those plastic cartridges are getting tossed out. That seems counter-productive. The best thing is to test your water from your water company and see if there are any contaminants in it. For instance, if you live in the country you might have pesticides from farming in your water and if you live in the city (like me!) you might have lead from the old pipes that they typically have.
Finding out what’s in your water is the first step in determining what kind of filter you need and if you even need one at all. You can go to the EPA’s Local Drinking Water Information page (water.epa.gov/drink/local/) to find out what’s been detected in your water. Then you need to test it. You can order a test kit from a certified lab such as National Testing Laboratories (www.ntllabs.com). Then, determined what you want to filter out. The Environmental Working Group provides a useful Water Filtering Buying Guide (www.ewg.org/tap-water/getawaterfilter/), which explains the different types of filters. And lastly, check to see if the filter cartridge can be recycled, because that’s after all what the purpose is. One that I know of for sure that can be recycling is the Zero Water system (www.zerowater.com) which can be purchased at Target, Walmart, BB&B, and Kohl’s. Needless to say, it’s possible to have a successful water filtration system.
Now, that you have your filtration system, what are you going to put it in? Not another plastic bottle, that’s for sure. A glass water bottle is the perfect solution. A few brands of glass water bottles are Love Bottles, Faucet Face, Life Factory, and Bkr. These companies do have bottles with plastic lids so another option would be to go the stainless steel route. They keep your water colder longer and are completely plastic-free. Some popular brands are Klean Kanteen and Pura Stainless, but I always see attractive ones at World Market, TJ Maxx, and Ross. I would check there first.
For more information on breaking the bottled water habit, check out Beth’s book or these useful websites and articles:
- Organization: Ban the Bottle (www.banthebottle.net)
- Article: “Message in a Bottle: Despite the Hype, Bottled Water is Neither CLEANER nor GREENER Than Tap Water.” (www.emagazine.com/archive/1125)
- Book: Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter H. Gleick