Here in the UK we are very lucky to have safe, clean drinking water from the tap. It’s pretty easy to take your reusable bottle out with you and avoid single use plastic bottles. Products like Ohyo (collapsable), Grip & Go (glass) or Onya (metal) mean there are choices for all circumstances and requirements.
Some of the issues with single use plastic bottles;
- Some contain BPA, a chemical to make plastic hard and clear. This has been shown to be an endocrine disrupter, the long term effects are not really known but are suspected to be negative. There are some worrying suggestions about what it may be doing to us as it builds up in the body. It has been banded in baby products in Europe and the USA, never a good sign! Other bottles are just made of PET which does not appear to have these effects, so far. If you are travelling it will be hard to know which is which.
- Plastic bottle tops (along with other plastic waste) end up in the stomachs of seabird and creatures. This kills by stopping them from being able to eat.
- It takes oil (which is running out) and water (which should be used for farming and drinking) to manufacture each bottle. Thats not including the water than goes in it.
- Many bottles are not recycled. They end up in landfill where they will take decades to break down, leaching chemicals into the surroundings.
- Bottling plants are responsible for water shortages around the world. There are law suits again companies (especially Nestle & Coca Cola) for taking too much water in USA, India and Brazil.
- Some bottled water travels over 10,000 miles to the UK, such as the brand Fiji Water
- The cost of bottled water adds up where ever you are.
There is a movement to change in places with safe drinking water, for example; Concord, Massachusetts (17,000 people) banned single use plastic water bottles in 2013. As have many USA universities. While South Portland and Montreal are making plans to do the same in the next few years 🙂 Closer to home parts of Italian heritage coast line and Selfridges Department store have banned then too. For more updates see the BanTheBottle web site. I would love to know how they work this in licensing controlled environments; bars, clubs and music venues.
However in many countries avoiding bottled water is hard. Especially if you won’t have facilities to boil it, and don’t want to use chemicals to sterilise. For the sustainably minded travelling to countries without clean tap water can be very challenging, especially when those countries may not have recycling, and many of the brands are owned by Coca Cola or Nestle!
In the past I have been found on my knees in a small shop rummaging to the back of a shelf to find the local companies water, the worldwide brands are always more prominent, and in the fridge. This really confuses the shop keeper as they don’t understand why the British woman doesn’t want the water from the fridge! On a purely practical note most people have found themselves nearly out of bottled water and all the shops are shut. If only you could safely drink the tap water it would be so much easier, cheaper and sustainable.
Then I discovered Aquapure Traveller. This clever product uses no chemicals or batteries. Each filter can work for at least 350 litres, but when the filter is finished it will stop working. Therefore it is not possible to accidentally unfiltered water. We have had ours for years and they are still going strong. However the best bit is the filter has been tested by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. So you can be sure that it really does filter out all the waterborne nasties you might encounter from common bacteria, pathogens, minerals, heavy metals and general dodgy looking bits! Get one for your next trip and be free to drink water where ever you are.