Sustainable Saturday – Stop buying plastic bottled water

Welcome to week 2 of our #sustainablesaturday challenge! This week we’re going to stop buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water an unnecessary expense, but did you know that plastic bottles cannot truly be recycled? Plastic can be “down cycled”, which means it can be broken down to be remade but it needs new plastic to be added to make it into something new. Also, plastic does not biodegrade and that means that every piece of plastic, ever made, still exists. Take that in for a moment. That’s shocking!

Photo courtesy of BBC

Here are some ideas on how you can stop buying plastic bottled water:

  • Actually use your reusable bottles. If you don’t have one, a glass jar with a lid will suffice. If you’re in the market for a new one, try to find a metal one over a plastic one.
  • Take your reusable bottle with you EVERYWHERE. Some places don’t allow you to bring your own drink, but they will allow you to bring an empty bottle that you can fill up using their water fountains. I’ve done this at concerts, airports (I LOVE airports for this reason because most of the ones I’ve been to have bottle fill up stations), and really, any time I’m out and about I carry a water bottle with me. And bonus, if you bring your bottle to an event (like a work conference or something), you’re prepared to refuse the free water bottles they may be giving away.
  • Need help on remembering to bring your water bottle with you? Well, you can try a couple of things:
    • Keep one in your car
    • Keep a small one in your purse
    • Use a carabiner to attach it to your keys – you won’t be leaving the house without them!
    • Keep an extra in your workout bag, desk, computer bag, etc.
    • Or just drink so much water regularly that you’ll know you get thirsty. This is how I began my bottle habit!

Screenshot of “reusable water bottles” from Ecosia

  • Filter water at home. If you’re not already doing this, I am curious as to why. Most modern fridges have filtered water available. Or you can get a Brita pitcher or even a Pur filter for your faucet. Now keep in mind, all of these contain plastic filters – but the point is not perfection. It is instead, doing what you can!
  • Now if you’re already doing all of these things and want to kick it up a notch, you can filter your own water using a charcoal stick, like the one below. If this sounds a little crazy to you, the above mentioned filters contain charcoal, so we’re really just eliminating the plastic parts. It is EXTREMELY important to research how to do use raw charcoal before you try it. You want to ensure you’re picking the right type of charcoal (hard? activated?). Some websites suggest sterilizing the charcoal first, and others mention that the charcoal has to be cleaned every so often and it does have a shelf life. Or I should say, ‘a water life’, as the charcoal will begin to breakdown over time. However, once it reaches that point, it can be added to soil and that helps plants!

Photo courtesy of Google

If you’re not already convinced that buying plastic water bottles is the thing to do, think about all the money you’ll save! A 12 pack of Arrowhead water (which is the cheapest kind I’ve found), retails at about $2.64 at Walmart. And if you’re drinking all the water you should be in a day, you’ll need to buy several 12 packs a week. Just for examples sake, we’ll say you need to consume 3 16.9 oz bottles. That means that your 12 pack will last you 4 days. Now, if there are other adults in your house, they should also drink 3 bottles a day. Now your 12 pack lasts 2 days for every 2 adults. Have kids in your house? I know getting them to dink water can be a challenge so we’ll just say each child drinks 1 bottle a day. For a house of 4 (2 adults and 2 kids), you’re consuming a 12 pack of water almost DAILY. Now, $3/day might not sound like much, but add that up over time… 1 week: $18.48, 1 month: $73.92, 3 months: $221.76.

Now let’s look at the cost of a Brita pitcher and filter. Walmart sells a basic Brita pitcher for $14.88, and 1 filter costs $6.58, with options to buy multiple filters in a 3 pack for $14.35, 4 pack for $18.97 or a 5 pack for $26.95. You might be thinking that these are expensive! But did you know that each filter lasts about 90 days? Let’s review, you can spend $221.76 on 3 months of bottled water, OR you can spend $15 on a pitcher and $7 on a filter, which totals $22, and lasts the same 3 months. I think the answer is clear!

We’re not just saving the Earth or our oceans here, we’re saving money too!

So let me know in the comments what you’re doing with your water. Do you think this challenge will be easy? Difficult? And what about last week’s challenge to ditch the plastic grocery bag?

Until next week, I’m sending you all the love!

~Stephani

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