Two weeks into the challenge and I’m feeling great about it. I’ve been able to use my refillable water bottle with great consistency, with only one day of lapsing and buying two plastic water bottles from Lower. I’ve tried to record the number of times I’ve filled my 24 oz. Contigo water bottle throughout the week in an attempt to estimate the amount of plastic waste I’ve saved by using a refillable water bottle instead of plastic disposable water bottles. This past week, I fully refilled 16 times, with a number of partial refills, so I probably used around 20 total refills, which would mean I’ve saved plastic from about 24, 20 oz. Dasani water bottles (which is what I used to purchase).
According to “Message in a Bottle,” a source found on the BAN THE BOTTLE campaign site, the average American uses around 167 disposable water bottles in 2007, but only recycled 38. With such a low average recycling rate, the amount of plastic saved would be immense if people would only adapt the habit of using a refillable water bottle. The choice is not only a green one, but ends up being economically efficient too as the recommended eight glasses of water a day costs about $.49 per year of tap water, but that same amount of bottled water ends up costing around $1,400. The water from both sources is essentially the same, so the decision to convert to refillable water bottles is a worthy one to make for many individuals. If the tap water is slightly funky tasting, then a water filter (such as Brita) is an excellent solution. I fortunately brought a Brita water filter to campus and have found it helping me immensely with this green challenge. Before the challenge, it was in my possession, but I used it mostly for coffee/tea water, and not simply drinking water.
Fishman, Charles. “Message in a Bottle.” Fast Company Magazine July 2007: 110.