How I gave up bottled water and lived to tell the tale

bottleh2o

Yes! I made it 30 days with no (er, little) bottled water! And I’m not even living in a yurt, making clothing from alpacas that I’m raising, and eating exclusively local root vegetables.

Thirty days with no bottled water may not seem like a lot. And, quite frankly, it’s not. I didn’t bring Aquafina to their knees. And I did cause myself a lot of inconvenience.

For those of you who just tuned in, the logic behind my self-imposed ban on bottled water (and soda) is a form of my own carbon offset. Yes, it would have been a lot easier to pay $15 to buy some credits. But I wanted to take matters into my own hands and go bottle-for-bottle offsetting the carbon of my wine consumption. My logic was that the wine I enjoy is unique while the bottled water I can buy at every corner shop is easily substitutable with tap water and a little planning.

So what I’ve learned:

* Try not to blast the air conditioning with the windows open (actually I jest–the AC was coincidentally–and annoyingly!–broken during the entire period).
* NYC tap water really does taste like chlorine. And it is best served cold, VERY cold.
* Refilling the same Poland Spring bottle for a few weeks straight isn’t the best idea.

So am I going to keep up the ban forever? No. But I’m going to reduce the amount of bottled water, especially non-sparkling, that I buy. In fact, British consumers were urged last week to substitute French wine for New Zealand wine in the name of finding a wine that had fewer “food miles” under its belt.

This is nonsense. British wine consumers should instead celebrate the diversity of distinctive wines from around the globe and instead perform their own offsets and drink tap water. Or something else less fun. Just don’t give up the diversity of wine!

So what am I going to drink to celebrate? You might think a big glass of Pellegrino. But actually, since I included all club soda and tonic water, I have been thinking about a Tom Collins (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and club soda) ever since I read Eric Felten’s WSJ article ten days ago. So tonight I’ll be mixing up a cocktail before dinner. And maybe I’ll just have a glass of tap water to go with my wine at dinner.

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19 Responses to “How I gave up bottled water and lived to tell the tale”


  1. It may not be a good idea to reuse a poland spring bottle around for weeks, but what about purchasing a reusable container, like a Sigg bottle?

    TreeHugger’s take.


  2. How about installing a water filter or buying one of those pitchers, and then putting the stuff in a Sigg bottle like TreeHugger suggests? We did this and it save us tons of money, and we have a lot less recycling to put out.


  3. Thanks for the tips! A commenter on a previous post tipped me to a new Nalgene bottle too. I’ll have to get something that is reusable yet lightweight.


  4. personally, i don’t find this to be as difficult (or applause-worthy) as you make it out to be. new york has an excellent tap system — only one of four whose waters (which come from the mountains upstate) need not be filtered. it’s quite sustainable and, at least to me, an obvious choice.


  5. Hey Katie and Deb,

    I just went to Whole Foods today and got a Sigg (aluminum) bottle. Thanks for the treehugger stuff about bisphenol A and the Sigg tip!


  6. Dear Doc,

    If you get a wide-mouth Nalgene bottle and an insulating sleeve with a zippered top, you can fill the bottle with filtered tap water and ice cubes (also filtered) and have cold (or at least cool) water for a couple of hours.

    Wash the bottle frequently and never use it to marinate coq au vin on a camping trip (you’ll never get the garlic flavor out).

    Cheers,


  7. To filter my NYC tap water, I use this contraption:

    http://www.bestfilters.com/AQ4000C.html

    Filters out far more pollutants than one of those pitcher filters and it doesn’t clog up with sediment (the downside of NYC’s unfiltered tap water) every month like the pitchers do – my last filter worked fine for over 6 months. And no, I don’t work for them. I just wanted to pass it along.


  8. [...] antipathy–nay hostility–for bottled water. I gave up the easily substitutable beverage for thirty days to offset my wine carbon footprint, allowing me to enjoy imported wine with a clearer [...]


  9. [...] Vino tried to address the issue of the carbon footprint of wine-drinking a little while back, by giving up drinking bottled water for a month. We applaud such efforts, and do our best to bring our own reusable 32 oz. water bottles to the gym [...]


  10. [...] Every guest has an opinion, and asks for a particular brand.” What the heck, given my earlier bottled water ban, I think I’ll boycott Claridges too! Feel the pain of my non-visit, Claridges! [...]


  11. [...] What does this mean for the green wine consumer? Drinking a wine made without agrichemicals, from larger format bottles, or wine that has traveled fewer miles is the more “green” option. Beyond these points (or in addition to them), you could perform your own carbon offsets, for example, by giving up one bottle for another and saying no to bottled water. [...]


  12. [...] my earlier bottled water ban and recent calculations of the carbon footprint of wine, I must make this year a Bojo No-vo. Stick [...]


  13. A SOLUTION to bottled water dilema. There is a machine that is very affordable, lasts for 15 years and it makes the most amazing life giving healthiest water on the planet! The best part is that it is endless supply from your own tap, it converts tap water into ultra purified, ionized, alkaline, oxygenated, anti-oxidant water. It is portable and easy to hook up in minutes. No more chlorine, bacteria, acid or impurities, all eliminated creating the most amazing tasting water. Japan and Korea have had these machines for 36 years. People have reported amazing health benefits including me, my allergies are GONE, my waistline is melting and I am full of energy, I look and feel great! My husbands arthritis is gone and he is losing his waistline too. Learn more at reverseagingwater.com
    lifechangewater.com click FAQ and learn more about this amazing water, it has changed the health and life of my family. The pets love it too. Everyone who tries it is amazed. Start feeling good about the water you are puting into your body, we are 70% water, make sure that 70% is good.


  14. [...] tastings in Los Angeles and Seattle that sound like fun with good people and good wines. Since I gave up bottled water for thirty days and lived to tell the tale, I like the cause: “part of the proceeds will go to local water conservation [...]


  15. [...] What does this mean for the green wine consumer? Drinking a wine made without agrichemicals, from larger format bottles, or wine that has traveled fewer miles is the more “green” option. Beyond these points (or in addition to them), you could perform your own carbon offsets, for example, by giving up one bottle for another and saying no to bottled water. [...]


  16. [...] outside the box” NYT “An open letter to Jorge Ordonez” [Dr. V] “How I gave up bottled water and lived to tell the tale” [Dr. V] Drinking box rosé in the south of France The excellent image is by Grady McFerrin [...]


  17. I love sparkling mineral water, but didn’t feel good about its carbon footprint, so I now use a soda syphon and love it. With filtered water from the tap, the only thing left to recycle is the small metal CO2 cartridge….


  18. Can you explain why using cork can help the Mediterranean ecosystem?


  19. [...] of course, it’s low carbon footprint! As an offset to my wine consumption, I gave up bottled water almost entirely last year and it was the sparkling water that I missed most. Now it’s great [...]


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