In Episode 3 we talk about plastic water bottles and how simple and economical it can be to get in the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you and simply saying no to single-use. Check out The Story of Stuff : Story of Bottled Water cause this short video really breaks it down in a simple but super informative way. If you are reading this, you more than likely have access to clean drinking water coming right out of your tap. Most of us have the privilege of being able to turn on a faucet that dispenses literally, limitless amounts of water at the exact desired temperature. This is one of those little things that I am so grateful for. In fact, every morning when I take my first sip of water I say the words Thank You, I cannot take for granted being able to enjoy this privilege. Some folks eve argue that water is a basic human right - I agree.
Did you know that 1/10th of once percent of water on this planet is water that we can actually drink?
That pretty much means that fresh water is a very limited natural resource (a vital one too). Were you aware of the fact that it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it? Yikes! Boggles our mind too!
Regardless, the fact that it is 2018 and there are people and many many children living in the United States of America who cannot access safe drinking water is infuriating. So before I can get on my high horse and preach to everyone listening to this podcast about which type of water bottle is best, I want us to think about just how important it is to secure our right to access safe drinking water and to continue advocating for others to have this same right too. Which type or brand or color water bottle you buy is really not the point. The fact is, all over the world but especially in parts of Africa and Asia, women and children walk an average distance of 4 to 12 miles daily just to get about 20 liters of water. This supply of water is used for drinking, cooking and bathing. So the notion that some people find carrying a reusable water to be an inconvenience is really hard for me to grasp. I send my kids to school with a reusable water bottle every day but I have a hard time remembering if my mother did the same for me. Plastic water bottles were not as prevalent in the late 80’s and early 90’s because there were water fountains everywhere. So here is a thought, instead of having companies install vending machines that sell bottled water in schools and colleges, I would love to see more facilities install water fountains or simply fix the ones that are already there so they are operational. There are now these great water bottle filling stations popping up all over the place and they actually tell you how many single use water bottles will not be making it to the landfill. They are fantastic.
Of course there are many obstacles to being able to carry your own reusable water bottle in some places, like the airport for instance or music festivals, but there are plenty of #hacks to solve this dilemma. So maybe you can’t bring a full bottle of water through the security line at LAX, but there are no rules saying you cannot bring an empty reusable water bottle. When traveling, simply bring an empty bottle and fill it once you get past security at a restaurant or water fountain. So easy and free. Plus, YOU KNOW that ANYTHING you buy at the airport is going to be super overpriced anyway so just save the money to enjoy on your trip. Have you been to a festival lately that is annoyingly strict? One where you can’t wear a belt and your bag must be the size of a burrito and or completely see-through and packs of cigarettes must be sealed (still gross) and you definitely cannot bring your own reusable water bottle? Yup, it’s a thing in some places. Well, I found a way to get my reusable water bottle past security without “breaking the law” Vapur water bottles are a contraption I started out hating but now truly appreciate and recommend to all my clients. I’m obviously not a huge fan of plastic anything but when an item can be used repeatedly in place of something that would otherwise be used just once (like a plastic water bottle) then in my mind - that piece of plastic is ok. Granted, this Vapur bottle will still end up in the landfill in a few years but if it can keep hundreds of other plastic water bottles out of the landfill then it is still a solution.
Did you know that only about 10% of all the plastic generated in the US is recycled? That is insane! So of course, stainless steel or glass (reuse an old jar with a lid) is still the best option but even a reusable plastic water bottle is better than a single use one.
Speaking of water bottles, I want to take a moment to give a shoutout to my colleague Marcus Eriksen for bringing attention to the overconsumption of plastic. He wrote a book titled Junk Raft which is about how in 2008, two sailors drifted across the N. Pacific to Hawaii on a raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles tied in old fishing nets stuffed under a Cessna 310 Aircraft. They called it JUNK, and the purpose of the 88 day, 2600 mile voyage was to build awareness and help build a movement to save our seas from plastic pollution.
Well now a grassroots movement has emerged and is aligned into massive global coalitions demanding the same things: better waste management and corporate responsibility to make smarter products and packaging. So join the plastic-free movement, read the book and let us know what you think.
Some quick facts:
Did you know that Bottled water is not safer than tap water? The federal government requires more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water. Bottled water, on the other hand, doesn't have to meet any of those standards. According to the National Resources Defense Council, most bottled water is of good quality. But does that make it better than tap water? No! The most recent tests by the NRDC tested 103 bottled waters and showed the following:
Nearly one in five tested waters contained, in at least one sample, more bacteria than allowed under microbiological-purity "guidelines"
Four waters (4 percent) violated the generally weak federal bottled water standards (two for excessive fluoride and two for excessive coliform bacteria) yuck.
In eight cases, arsenic was found in at least one test at a level of potential health concern.
So in conclusion: there is simply no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water. Why waste the money?
Here are some simple things you can do:
Choose tap water over bottled water whenever possible
Fill a reusable bottle with tap water
Support policies that promote clean, affordable tap water for all
Want to know more about what people all over the world are doing to curb the use of single use plastic water bottles? Check out this article.
If you are into documentaries, these are some of our favorite water-related ones. Check them out at your earliest convenience and let us know of any other good ones out there so we can share with others.
Read: CADILLAC DESERT: THE AMERICAN WEST AND ITS DISAPPEARING WATER
Thanks for reading this blog post. Check back soon for Episode 4 of the #zerowastelifehack podcast
Thank you to HAUTE MOBILE DISCO for curating this Episodes playlist.