When I look into public trash bins or take inventory of what comprises most of the litter on streets, it’s always plastic bottles and cups. Water bottles, soda bottles, plastic cups from every fast food chain imaginable, and more. We drink a lot of “convenient, on-the-go, plastic contained beverages. We throw away roughly 50 billion (mostly) plastic bottles per year. And that’s not even figuring in other types of disposable drinking vessels like coffee cups.
Let’s go a little deeper. Not only do we consume too much – the resources that go into manufacturing this amount of waste is extensive. The Pacific Institute estimates that the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture the demands of plastic bottles each year. And here is probably the most disturbing tid bit of knowledge – it takes almost twice as much water to make a plastic bottle than what goes into the bottle after production. Yes, this production is not as wasteful as other industries such as soda and hard alcohol but it’s the principle- ya know? So not only are we wasting non renewable resources and creating more virgin plastic that inevitably ends up in oceans, landfills, and our parks, we are wasting so much more water to begin with. It’s insane.
For a lot of us, we have clean, perfectly drinkable water that comes right from our tap (I’m not referring to well water – only regulated tap). So why on earth do we continually waste so much money every year for something we can get for practically free? Let’s rethink this and say “Farewell!” to plastic, bottled drinks, shall we?
How to Get Drinks “On-the-Go” without Plastic Bottles
This week on the Sustainable Summer Challenge we are going to come up with a plan to phase out plastic bottles and cups. And this first post is just about the bottles. Now remember, this is all about “refusing what we do not need.” So if you are in a situation where you need to use a plastic bottle of water, then use it. Don’t feel bad – if it’s a need, it’s a need.
Use what you already have.
First things first, you will need some sort of reusable drinking vessel. Whether it’s a reusable water bottle (it doesn’t matter what it’s made from if you already have one), Mason jar, an insulated tumbler, or even a pasta sauce jar you want to reuse. You know how I feel about reusing **heart eyes!!** Any of these items can be used. You don’t need to buy anything new. I personally switch between a mason jar with a Cuppow Lid and a Klean Kanteen pictured above. Options are endless.
Fill up at home
Fill your bottle or jar up before you leave from home. Water, tea, lemonade, whatever you have – take it on the go! Stick your bottle in the fridge the night before so that it’s extra chilled when you leave for the day. That’s my favorite thing to do in the summer when it’s so hot.
You can use a filter if you prefer
Some of you express concerns about impurities in your water so I’d suggest getting a filter for your faucet or by using a Zero Waste option by placing a charcoal stick into your bottle or jar. Meredith over at Meredith Tested wrote a post on how she and her family filter their water trash free.
If your main concern is fluoride, consider investing in a fluoride removal filter or take solace in knowing that the charcoal filters will remove some fluoride. Definitely not all.
Fill up anywhere and everywhere
If you need a refill, look for public water fountains, public restrooms, or look for restaurants who offer free water which most do. Don’t be shy – you can do it!
Fill up at gas/petrol stations
You don’t have to deprive yourself of things just because you are refusing waste. Sometimes I just really want a soda so I fill up my bottle at the soda fountain at gas stations. Most gas stations in the US are accustomed to this and even encourage doing it. The best part is that I only get paid for a refill so my entire bottle of soda costs around $.60. Bam!
Don’t forget to clean your bottle
Make sure you have your bottle clean for the next day because this waste refusing game is all about being prepared.
This week’s homework:
- Find a reusable bottle or jar to use for “on-the-go” beverages.
- Fill up with your beverage of choice.
- Keep an eye out for plastic bottle litter and make sure it gets into the nearest recycling bin.
Stay tuned for more info on how to refuse plastic cups later this week!