Today we’re going to look a little closer at one of this year’s green challenges for eco-families – stop buying bottled water.
WHY TAKE ON THIS GOAL?
There are dozens of great reasons why you should quit buying bottled water. However, since we’ve already gone over that at Growing a Green Family, I won’t bore those of you who have been around for a while. If you need reasons behind this goal read: Time to stop buying bottled water.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS GOAL:
I don’t remember ever buying bottled water regularly. I did buy an occasional bottle of water throughout my life, but not too often. About ten years ago I started using reusable coffee mugs religiously, and soon after I realized that buying water in a bottle was just as bad as coffee in a paper cup. This said, this was less of a goal of mine and more just how I always did things. For example, I consciously decided to use reusable bags, but I just never really bought water, so I didn’t have to make it a goal.
HOW LONG DID THIS GOAL TAKE TO ACCOMPLISH?
Well, as noted, this wasn’t ever an official goal of mine. I rarely, if ever bought bottled water in my life, and now I don’t buy it ever.
However, I have watched other people go through a stop-buying-bottled water phase and also I did go through a stop-using paper coffee cups phase, so I’ve seen this process in action. It took me a few months to always remember my reusable coffee mug once I started using them. I’ve seen it take folks anywhere from a couple of months to a year to quit buying bottled water.
COST OF THIS GOAL:
SO inexpensive. In fact, if you accomplish this goal, you’ll actually save over $6,000 over five years! You’ll save that much even if you have to buy water bottles and even if you choose to invest in a water filtering system.
TIPS TO HELP YOU SUCCEED:
Get a water bottle you love – in fact get two or three per family member. This is a semi-costly start-up goal, because you’ll need to buy water bottles. Buying just one boring water bottle can be cheap enough if you get a weird cheap brand, however, I’m going to suggest that you buy quality water bottles, and more than one.
You may as well start off this goal with the best BPA-free, attractive water bottle possible. If you love your bottle you’ll be more likely to use it. You need two bottles (at least) because at first, it’s easy to leave bottles laying around – at work, at school, in your car and so on. See BPA-free water bottles for kids and BPA-free water bottles for adults.
Try out your bottle around the house first, where you also have glasses available. This allows you a trial run, to see how a specific water bottle will suit you.
COMMON TROUBLE SPOTS & QUESTIONS:
You trust your own tap water, but not water anywhere else – get a water bottle that filters water on the go.
You always leave the house without your bottle – hang a note on the door. Keep a bottle everywhere; one at work, one in your backpack or diaper bag, one or two in the car, and so on.
Bottles are too hard to clean – well, so is a world full of plastic, but… in any case, get a bottle that can be tossed in the dishwasher (most can). If you’ve got zero dishwasher, get a bottle with a wide mouth so you can fit a cleaning towel inside. Or find a bottle that’s made to be cleaned.
You don’t like that weird water bottle water taste – get a real stainless steel bottle. Plastic bottles and aluminum bottles impart flavors in water you don’t need to deal with.
You don’t like the feel of stainless steel on your mouth – yes, this was a real concern from a fellow blogger I know. She hated the feel of her lips on stainless steel. However, most water bottle companies, even the stainless steel ones, make attachments in BPA-free plastics so that you can skip the feel of metal mouth.
Water bottles are way too hippie – Not true. There are many stylish water bottles on the market. In fact, I reviewed a super bling bottle here before, perfect for the most stylish, un-hippie people.
You hate how water bottles sweat and feel too cold – Type “water bottle carrier” or “water bottle cover” into your search engine, and go nuts with the choices.
Water bottles always leak – Not all. Some. I’ve used MANY. Some leak, some rock. Try different brands.
My water doesn’t stay cold – Are you using glass or plastic reusable bottles? These won’t stay as chilly as stainless steel. Especially if you leave your water bottle in the sun (like in the car) for an extended period of time.
Bottled water is healthier than tap – My boyfriend mentioned that many health conscious people he’s met act like bottled water is so much healthier than tap; as if good health and bottled water go hand-in-hand. That’s so wrong. Not only is most bottled water NO different from tap water, but with bottled water you’ve got chemicals in the water due to the plastic bottle AND a seriously trashed planet too (only about 27% of all plastic water bottles get recycled). Tap water is very safe in most cases, and if not a simple water filter can ease your mind.
You don’t like that slight chlorine taste in tap water – Leave your water sitting in a container for a couple of days, and the chlorine taste will be eliminated.
TO SUM UP:
Really, I think this is the easiest goal on the “harder” list. This is one of those goals that just takes a little will-power. If you don’t bring a water bottle, don’t allow yourself to buy a plastic bottle. Just don’t. The learning curve on this goal isn’t as tough as say, going meatless or learning to compost correctly. It’s simple. Carry a bottle, keep a spare around, and you’ll be a-okay.
Oh, and for those of you with kids, this is an awesome goal. My son’s had reusable water bottles since birth, and he’s fairly oblivious to plastic water bottles now. Kids are easy going about reusable water bottles, especially if you get them an awesome bottle.