Nobody Ever Said "Doing the Right Thing is Easy"

Where to begin. I am proud to say that we have reduced our individual bottles of water purchases by approximately 80%, even with our travel. We have enjoyed using our two aluminum waters bottles purchased from The Peddler’s Wagon. Made from a 304 grade aluminum, our 20 oz. green jewel toned bottle is perfect for DD, and a bargain at only $11.00.  DH and I share a larger, 1 ltr. Steel Water Bottle, which has a opening large enough to add ice.

To up the ante, we have decided to stop purchasing bottled pop, as well. The decision is based somewhat on the plastic bottle pollution issue, partly on my readings of The Omnivore’s Dilema and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and lastly, and probably most important, is our ever growing waistline. When we were in Kansas City this weekend, I am very happy to report that DH, nor I, purchased a pop, or a plastic bottle of anything the entire day. A couple of times, I thought we might falter, but I am very proud of us both.  To some of you, this may seem as such a simple task, but I assure you it took great fortitude to spend 13 plus hours on the road without a bottle of Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, or Coca-Cola.

 

Eating Our Trash

Would you like a table or a booth?

 The old adage “we are what we eat”  hits too close to home after watching this video about Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean. I saw the documentary on television some time ago and I was amazed at the footage. The floating island of trash is said to be twice the size of Texas and 80% of it is comprised of household and municipal waste, filled with plastic. Plastic is not biodegradable, it is photodegradable, which means it will always remain as plastic.

In this floating monstrosity tiny pieces of plastic are floating about with an array of larger discards. Filter feeder fish, such as jelly fish, take these plastics into their systems. Well, we all know how the food chain works. Big fish eats little fish, which is then eaten by a bigger fish, and another until it makes it on our dining room table.

Concerns over the chemicals in plastics infiltrating our food chain have prompted studies in Japan; where women with high levels of these toxins have been know to have multiple miscarriages. Doctors in Hawaii express concern over the high levels linking to early onset diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.

I love fish…especially shellfish, salmon, and grouper. Living in landlocked Kansas, I rarely have an opportunity to dine on any of my favorites, but occasionally I am able to sit down to a bit of catfish or trout….some of which I have angled myself…however, even our Kansas waters woes concern me over what I am consuming, but I will save that for another entry.

Bottled Water

Originally posted 01.19.08

 

Finding it difficult to sleep, I was up early this morning. Normally, I would not turn the television on because it usually ends up being an all morning affair when I do, but I wanted to check the weather to discover why we had none of the snow that was expected this morning. Well, it resulted into a late start for my day, but it is not with regret. There were two segments on the morning show that interested me. One segment brought attention to the environmental and health hazards of individual bottled water and the other that I found interesting was about the Federation of Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind, which I hope to research further and write about at a later date.

 

I was amazed to hear that 40 million plastic water bottles are added to landfills daily. Top that off with the fact that the water sold in the bottles is not governed by as strict of standards as our tap water and the story had my attention. I did not realize or maybe I just have not been listening before now, but the bottling companies do not have to follow the stringent quality guidelines of the EPA. After I research a bit more, I may have more to say about this at a later date.

 

Since my family and I are on a quest for a more self sustained lifestyle and making greener choices, I want to chime in on our overuse of the individual water bottles. I am ashamed to say that I am afraid to guess how many of those little plastic bottles we have contributed to our local landfill. Being a parent of a high school and club athlete, we are on the road several days a week, year around. To keep from buying soda while traveling, we are in the habit of grabbing those little bottles as we are running out the door. I even keep a small stock of the small, itsy bitsy bottles in the hatchback of my vehicle.

 

Those little water bottles are not only perfect for the road, but I am come to appreciate the “no-taste” of the water. I was raised in a large metropolitan area of another state and never remember the water have a “taste”, but since moving to a rural area I have found it difficult to palate the definite taste in our local water. This has resulted in me drinking not only more of the individual bottles but I also buy several gallon jugs to use while at home.

 

Dear Husband was raised in a rural setting and he is accustomed to the “thick” taste of the water, so he finds my habits a bit ridiculous. He was actually the first to baulk at my over consumption of the bottled water, and revolted by purchasing his own reusable water bottle that he now carries with him as we travel. The requirements for his bottle were that it had to have a mouth large enough to be able sterilize properly and to be a size that is easily manageable. I once bought a large insulated mug that donned the Kansas State University logo, but found that once it was filled with liquid it was just too difficult to handle. It was like carrying a 6 lb weight around with you. Consequently it sits in the cupboard, taking up space and a reminder of the petroleum that was consumed in the production of plastics.

 

It has taken some time, but I finally found that perfect water bottle for me. It has a double wall for better insulation, fits my hand, and holds about 16 ounces of liquid. A Britta Pitcher Filter has assisted with some of the taste issues I have and I am now keeping the filtered water in the fridge, instead of those plastic gallon jugs. Dear Daughter stills runs out the door with a sports drink in her hand, but 2 out 3 isn’t a bad start. I am sure she will jump on board when we find a solution for her.

Bottled Water Causing Water Shortages

Written 2.22.08

I was just reading a one page article in Mother Earth News entitled, Water Wars: Bottled or Tap?  I was surprised to find that because of the growing consumption of bottled water the production has caused some water shortages in areas near bottling plants. These shortages are affecting agriculture and consumers in the nearby communities.  Not only is the extraction used for plastic-making depleting the resource, but according to this article, for each gallon of water purified there are two gallons wasted in the process. That is scary!

The article goes on to promote the non-profit organization, Food and Water Watch, which is campaigning to “Take Back the Tap” to raise awareness and lower consumption of bottled water. In an effort to harness the power of our youth on college campuses across America, the organization is hosting the I Heart Tap Water Student Video Contest.  Contestants declare their love for tap water, along with other criteria, in a video to upload on youtube.com. Entries must be submitted no later than April 14, 2008. Aspiring movie makers or green campaigners might get their big break with a 2 minute video about bottled water consumption and its evils.

I have to say that I was very proud of myself. I bought that nice water bottle to take to ball games with me. At our last game, for a change, I filled it with iced tea. Well, what a disaster! I had it under my bench and then DH and I changed seats. He jumped up to video the game over someone who had jumped up in front of him and he kicked the bottle  over. He kicked it so hard that it hit the wall behind us, opened up, and spilled 24 ounces of tea down the concrete bleachers…step by step, damaged purse by purse, and even included a diaper bag in the destruction. I was never so embarrassed! Guess I am going to have to figure something else out. Maybe I will just recycle the plastic water bottles and refill with my own tap or tea. That way I will have a lid and he can kick away!

Just a side note, I have been saving the bottles to either send to the recycle bin or for storing rice and pasta. Today I was cleaning my vermicomposting bin and decided to save the water that used to clean my compost sifter. I funneled the water into a couple of those small water bottles and added the small amounts of compost stuck to the side of my pots.  I figure I can let the water sit for awhile to de-chlorinate and make compost tea at the same time. I left them on a shelf at the top of the basement stairs so that I would remember to shake them every time I go down the stairs.  I am excited to see how this works.