There are two weeks left in my water bottle challenge and I wanted to give you guys a little update on how it’s been going, the lessons I’ve learned so far, and how it’s changed my overall thinking. Although the challenge is technically ending at the end of the year, I plan to stick with it indefinitely.
How it’s going…
I have commitment issues and often promise myself and others I’ll do these grand things and make these grand changes, and then it kind of just fizzles out. But this time it feels really different. I’ve gone 51 days without buying a single plastic water bottle, which, in itself might not seem like a big deal, but it’s the start of something bigger for me. And that feels really good! What feels even better is knowing how many of you out there have done the same. I have been getting messages and emails and photos and videos from you guys, sharing your own water bottle challenges and how you’ve made smarter swaps along the way. The fact that a random idea I had turned into saving hundreds if not 1000s of plastic bottles from being consumed makes this challenge a success in my book.
On the road…
What I’ve found to be the most difficult part of this challenge is travel. Difficult isn’t the right word, I suppose. It’s very doable, you just have to do a lot more planning ahead. On road trips, we’ve been packing multiple bottles for all three of us (and the dog!) so we don’t have to buy a water bottle at a gas station halfway through the trip, which we always used to do. But being in a hotel over Thanksgiving threw us for a loop. The water at the hotel tasted terrible but I refused to buy water. Instead, I went down to the coffee shop downstairs twice a day and refilled our bottles for the whole family with their filtered water. They were really nice about it, especially after I explained why I was doing it. One of the baristas even said he’d join the challenge!
Earlier this week though, I received a press package from Brita that had this water bottle inside. The bottle has a filter in the middle that literally filters your water as you drink it. It reduces Chlorine which makes your tap water taste and smell bad. According to the note, each bottle can replace up to 300 single-use plastic bottles which is pretty impressive. It also just feels really good to drink from.
Larq also caught on to the challenge and sent over one of their self-cleaning bottles which I, of course, forgot to bring on our trip. If you haven’t heard of Larq yet, they’re bottles that clean your water in 60 seconds with the same type of UV light that hospitals use to clean operating rooms. The cleaning system kills bacteria in the bottle and the water, keeping your bottles odor-free and your water better-tasting. And according to their website, they’re 10,000x more hygienic than regular reusable water bottles.
Either of these bottles would have made it a lot easier while we were out of town!
At home, it’s much easier to stay on task. I always have my water bottle with me and fill it up every time I leave the house. We installed a reverse osmosis filter under our sink as a long-term solution to our terrible-tasting water because none of the tap filters fit on our tap and we don’t have enough room in the fridge for a Brita pitcher. Anel did the research and landed on this one so that we could get the safest, cleanest water possible in our home. We liked this particular one because it has an extra stage (an alkaline remineralization filter) which adds healthy minerals and makes your water more alkaline… so basically it’s like buying a fancy single-use bottle of Essentia every day. Without the single-use bottle!
A reader also shared an idea with me that we’ve been using at home. She bought a set of glass water bottles, fills them with filtered water, and keeps them in her fridge to always have cold water on hand. These bottles are thin and don’t take up a lot of room so I always keep two in our upstairs fridge and 4 extras in the basement fridge for when we have guests over. It’s kind of a silly thing to do when you can just drink from the tap but something about the sleek glass bottles makes drinking water feel chic and gets us all to drink even more.
What I’ve learned…
This challenge has taught me that it’s really easy to make small changes that can add up to make a bigger difference in the world. The ripple effect is a magnificent thing to watch. Seeing your reactions and excitement have been the best part!
Another lesson I’ve learned is that once I changed my behavior, my eyes were opened even more. Now I’m noticing other things I buy and do unnecessarily that can be swapped out.
For example, a reader gave me the idea to expand the challenge to coffee cups as well. I don’t drink coffee but I’ll often order matcha lattés as a treat for myself when I’m out and about. I bought a Stojo collapsible cup that I should theoretically keep in my purse at all times. I’m still working on that one because I’ll wash it and forget to put it back, but that habit is forming too. So if you’ve already been doing the water bottle challenge, I hope you’ll join me for this one too.
Expanding the challenge…
In early January, I’ll be announcing how I plan to expand it even further for 2020. I’m very excited for it!
If you’ve been doing the challenge too, let us all know how it’s going for you!
Photo by Julia Dags.