Reusable Bottles - Better For the Environment, You and Your Wal

  • If you have ever watched "Everybody Hates Chris" you know his father, Julius, works two jobs, and pinches every penny. If someone in the house throws away bacon, he knows how much the bacon costs. My family calls me Julius because of my hate for waste and I am okay with that. I understand him; he is upset because he worked hard for the money to buy bacon just to see someone throw it away.

    A couple of years ago, my 5 and 7 year old would take a few drinks out of a outdoor travel flask, and then leave them in the car for me to throw away. The wasted money and trash was driving me crazy. My guess is we were spending about $400/year (4 bottles/day x $.25 x 365 days) and our community did not offer recycling so the plastic bottles were going to the land fill.

    Later I found out only about 20% of water bottles get recycled. The rest end up in landfills, get incinerated or become liter. Recycled bottles cannot be turned into more water bottles; they must become park benches or some other plastic thing.

    At first, I tried filling plastic sports bottles we had collected over the years with tap water. I thought filling the bottles with water/ice when the kids needed water would work okay, but soon found I did not always have time. So, I filled the plastic reusable bottles at night and placed them in the refrigerator for the kids to grab as needed. I quickly learned I needed more like 6 bottles per person so I could wash and refill a couple of times a week instead of every day. Another trick I want to pass on is the filled vacuum insulated bottle should stand uncapped for about 30 minutes so the chlorine can escape. This worked great until I learned about BPA in some plastics. I had no idea what was in my plastic bottles so I threw them all away.

    I considered metal reusable bottles. They cannot be washed in the dishwasher and I don't have time to wash by hand. They also cost $10 to $20 each so buying multiples was expensive. There have also been stories about the liners of metal bottles containing BPA.

    My business supplies jars and bottles to gourmet food companies so I selected vacuum water bottles from work. These have large openings so the dishwasher can get into them. They are inexpensive so you can buy many of them. Glass has been used by humans for thousands of years without any harmful side effects so I don't have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching. My family has been using glass reusable bottles for two years and is very happy with them. Yeah, we break a couple bottles a year and it is usually the adults trying to carry too much. Still, we find the cost saving, convenience and health benefits make glass reusable bottle the best alternative.

    You can put more than water into these kids water bottles. Iced tea can replace colas and diet colas. Cool aide can replace sports drinks and juice. The bottles/caps will not stand the pressure of carbonation, fermentation or freezing.

    Rob Boord is a father of two and husband who lives in the Memphis, Tn area. I believe in leaving behind a better world for our children.