Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

The biggest loser is coming on in a few minutes, hence the title.

I've been back in the US for more than a week now. On Thursday I was recognized at the gym by one of my classmates as "the one who won't drink bottled water, right?" My classmate told me that she heard that San Francisco is now banning the sale of bottled water. (Canister Vacuum kindly found the details here about how the SF city government isn't going to buy bottled water anymore: http://www.planetizen.com/node/25253) Anyway, my classmate said Americans do all sorts of things that are hypocritical and not good for them. She said she's a nurse and many nurses are overweight. When she attends nursing conferences, the breakfasts include oversized bagels and sugary donuts and muffins. What kind of an example is that?

So far, no bottled water is an easy task. I brought my own water to Panera yesterday and the pizza shop last Friday, and it wasn't an issue. I just have to remember to bring it with me to my presentation tomorrow morning.

Total number of bottles of water used this year:
3 at the Newark Airport and 2 returning from England equals 5. But by now I would have gone through at least 80 bottles since the start of the year. I'm aiming for no bottled water in February at all, which should be easy since I'm not travelling anywhere.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vacationing without bottled water

So, it's been a week since my arrival in England, and Canister Vacuum and I have gone on quite a few day trips--to Liverpool, Manchester and Chesterfield, as well as eating out at various places for meals and snacks. It's been very easy to not drink bottled water! No one has denied us tap water, and we haven't been charged for it, either. Only one place, a museum in Liverpool, had water that wasn't too tasty; it tasted a bit like melon, which I know can happen when you keep your filtered water in a fridge with fruit. Oh, and we went to two different Costa coffee locations where I was asked if I wanted ice in my tap water--nice! Costa Coffee charges more money for their cookie and cake snacks if you eat in with the snack on a real plate instead of taking it out in a paper bag or whatnot, which I find interesting. Most places have given me a real glass with tap water. The Ikea snack bar gave me a paper cup with "30 cL" written on its side, but I used a real glass in its cafeteria. So far I don't think I've been given a plastic cup for water, and definitely no styrofoam. Though I have seen people at lunchtime walking down the street eating straight out of styrofoam takeout containers.

Since I feel more normal than I have all week, that means it's just about time to go back to the US and back to work on Monday, sigh! Wish it could have been a two week vacation!

And here's something I should have blogged about a few weeks back. Sally at work suggested that I bring my "year without bottled water" idea to the gym, as in promoting the idea of not using bottled water among the staff and members at the gym. I'd say about half the people in my classes have bottled water and the rest use sports bottles or even a paper cup with a straw. I don't know if I'm up to such a task, but it's something to consider doing!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

First bottled water purchase of the year

'Allo from England! My confession is I made my first bottled water purchase of the year--three bottles, in fact, at Newark Airport on Friday night. I have a fear of drinking Newark Airport water, though it probably isn't any different than any other municipal water. The crazy thing was the difference in price. $1.50 for the small bottle of Dasani at the bookstore, vs. $3 for the same size, same brand bottle at the food court just a few feet away. Crazy. And Dasani isn't even from a spring, it's just filtered municipal tap water. Sigh.

The main priority for my first day here was to sleep off the jet lag after the overnight flight. Now I'm here enjoying Canister Vacuum's company. Plus we'll probably go shopping today and either go to a pub or the 'Hut for dinner tonight. Fun!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Oh yeah, it's also Elvis's birthday today!

Science Olympiad day

So today was the science olympiad and I volunteered by stamping hands and handing out awards. Whee! I also got free lunch so I brought the sports bottle filled with water and it totally worked fine. I guess there won't be any drama about not using bottled water anymore. I have a lot of sparkle cups to wash on the weekends but so far, so good. Oh, when one of my coworkers reminded me to take the free bottled water, I told her I'm not doing bottled water anymore... and she seemed ok with it...or maybe more like, what weird scheme is she up to now??

I'm exhausted. Good night.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Filter for Good

So I was watching the Biggest Loser on new year's day (go Bette-Sue!). One of their new sponsors is Brita (bye-bye, Jenny-o turkey!). This season, the contestants will no longer use bottled water but rather use filtered Brita water instead, and they're going to keep track of how many bottles they would have used over the course of the show. I was going to keep track of how many bottles of water I've actually used instead of how many I would have used, but I guess I could do both?

Brita's set up a site: http://www.filterforgood.com/ where you can take the pledge to stop using bottled water. I think I'll take the pledge this weekend. I want to include my blog address in their comments box, but I'm thinking of changing the name of the blog so it's not so esoteric. Well, we'll see.

Oh, and I did 40 push ups (manly style, as my instructor calls them) at the gym. We'll see if I can lift my arms tomorrow.

That's a good idea

I'm getting some positive feedback already.

Sally at work said that she didn't drink soda yesterday because it came in a plastic bottle. (Sally's leaving her job tomorrow, I'm so sad to see her go! Don't go!)

At the gym tonight, the instructor asked us what our new year's resolutions were. I said, "a year without bottled water" and she said, "oh, that's a good one" and someone else verbally agreed, plus there was a lot of nodding. (Other resolutions of my classmates were "to lose 6 more pounds" (said the older, skinny guy who doesn't need to lose 6 more pounds) and "I'm here" (said a woman I haven't seen before).) Another classmate asked how I was going to live without bottled water. I pointed to my sports bottle. Yes, it's plastic but it's reusable and I'm filling it with Brita water.

The best stories are ones with some kind of conflict or struggle. So far, it's been pretty easy being bottled-water-free. At work I use the recently-installed water cooler. This one is hooked into the pipes. It chills and heats water so it's very handy and convenient. At home I've been using my Brita pitcher. At home and work I use the sparkle cups from CVS and for the gym, I fill up the sports bottle before I leave work. So far, so good. But maybe that means boring reading for you.

Oh, and I do drink V-8 from a can. I failed to mention that as one of my drinks in the previous post.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Year Without Bottled Water?

I have an addiction and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm addicted to bottled water. Water is pretty much the only beverage that I drink, save for milk in my cereal or a weekly cup of hot chocolate or the occasional can of root beer or Stewart's Cherries and Cream soda (that stuff is goooood). As shocking as it may sound, I don't drink alcohol, coffee or tea. Seriously.

Lately I've been thinking about my place in the world, my cash flow, recycling, the environment, and how these are all related. I've decided to try a year without bottled water because:
  • It will save me $$. I'm currently spending ~$8-10 a week on Poland Spring or Deer Park.
  • It will save me from lugging water around the supermarket to my home.
  • It will save me from dragging a ton of empty bottles from my cluttered kitchen to the recycle hut.
  • It will help the earth. I've read a few articles about bottled water and really, in a lot of ways bottled water is a big scam that we're all buying in to.
One of the colleagues who works on my floor mentioned some of the evils of bottled water at my desk one day in December, after I allowed 4 half-empty water bottles to start a family on my desk. I told her I knew I had to end my bottled water addiction. And from that, this idea was born. Following the tradition of such books as "Not Buying It" or "A Year Without "Made in China"" or "The Year of Living Biblically," I'm going to try A Year Without Bottled Water.

I need to set a few ground rules for myself:
  • I will not purchase bottled water to drink at home, at work, or at the gym.
  • I will not drink bottled water that is freely available, such as at a party.
  • If someone tries to give me bottled water, I will ask for tap water instead.
  • I will bring my own water if necessary.
  • Only if there is no other desirable alternative, will I purchase bottled water? I foresee air travel as one of those times. I could bring an empty bottle with me through security, but do I really want to fill it with Newark Airport tap water?
Last Friday we were allowed to leave work early, so I stopped by Target and bought a big Brita pitcher, a bunch of washable sports bottles for transporting water to the gym, and some reusable cups. I also bought some sparkle-y cups at CVS today, 75% off. They are adorable, with either red or silver sparkles. I don't know if the sparkle cups are dishwasher safe or not, but they are just adorable enough that I will hand wash them.

Initial investment:
  • $25 for the pitcher (filter was included)
  • $25 for some sports bottles
  • $15 for a whole bunch of cups.
This initial investment will pay for itself in the next two months. Thereafter, Brita replacement filters will be my only cost.

Who knows what will happen? Can I succeed? Will I miss bottled water? Will I go through withdrawal? More importantly, can I turn this concept into a profitable book and a movie? Please join me on my adventure!

Number of bottles bought or consumed since last post: 0
Year to date total: 0

Your homework, dear reader:

Recommended reading on the evils of bottled water, a 3 part series: