Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dropping the Disposable Water Bottle Habit

© photo copyright Carrie Boyko


I think it was 1996 when I started drinking bottled water. I was at the Atlanta Olympics and discovered that Crystal Springs water tasted wonderful out of a bottle, after having nearly given up drinking tap water from my home. Our city water hits you with an aroma of chlorine as soon as you turn on the tap. How healthy can that be?

By 2007, my water bottle habit was firmly established. I'm surprised I didn't need a bottled water patch to drop the habit. Years ago, I arranged deliveries of water to the house, as all 5 of us consumed an enormous amount of water in our daily activities, and the problem worsened with the kids' sports. They each had 2 athletic activities, making for a total of about 25 athletic events (practices and games) per week to provide water for. If I had only realized...now I cringe at the thought of all the bottles sent to the recyclers.

And I did not know about the dangers of freezing plastic until recently. I can't even count the number of frozen water bottles we used over the years, to keep the water cold until needed later in the day. Apparently, freezing the type of plastic used in water bottles releases Dioxin--a carcinogen--into the frozen water. Last year when I got my cancer diagnosis I quickly pinned it on a long list of sins...Hmmm.

After starting this blog, I vowed to make this change. I sought out a Bisphenol a-free bottle (see Science Daily for an explanation of the dangers of BPA) with a straw that closes underneath a lid to keep it clean, and one that held more than a typical 1/2 liter water bottle. It even has a belt clip to hook it to a backpack, belt or other stationary object. I use filtered water from a Brita pitcher. I know there are better options available, but for now, that is what will suffice. I like it and am still drinking a lot, so that's better than bottled. One of my sons, an environmental science and math major at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is working on moving me toward a water purification system. He has the exact model picked out, and it most certainly will cure cancer and balance the national budget. It will also take a whole closet to hold the thing, so I'm still shopping. Any ideas?

This Thursday's Green Tip Toe: You guessed it! Drop the bottled water habit. It's easy and much cheaper. What's not to like about that? Sure, you'll still need a few bottles around for guests on the fly, and you'll still have to purchase one at the 7-11 occasionally when you're out of town. But that's an improvement, both for you and the Earth. Take the vow with me. I need moral support.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

  • Take some time to select a bottle that suits your drinking needs and style. How large does it need to be? Do you prefer a small opening, a large mouth, or a straw? Do you need a cup, or is the bottle sufficient? Color preference?
  • Consider whether you will ever use if for milk or pulpy juices, and if so, buy a wide mouthed bottle for easier cleaning.
  • If you prefer plastic, choose BPA-free plastic.
  • Aluminum reusable water bottles are all the rage now, and available online wherever bottles are found. Being dishwasher safe would be a definite plus for me, so I'll probably be choosing aluminum next time I buy one.

Feel free to comment below with anything particularly interesting. Thanks for the input.

Tomorrow's Halloween post will offer a few ideas on how to tame the candy monsters at your house. We'll explore some possibilities on limiting how much of that nasty stuff your kids eat. Come check out some things that I have used with my kids, and ideas from others such as Green Halloween.

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