How to ditch bottled water on holidays

Another post about bottled water! I thought I’d follow up to last week’s post about a documentary that sums up the downsides of bottled water. Today I want to talk about a something that I found challenging when just started a zero waste lifestyle: avoiding bottled water on holidays.

Holidays

Back in the days I used to go on holidays by plane. Far away, mostly to Turkey and Egypt. A few years ago, I decided to stop flying because of the massive impact it has on our planet. The climate crisis is here and I want to do everything in my power to tackle it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t go on holidays any longer, I still do! For example to Albufeira last summer. I just travel differently! This means I still come in foreign countries where tap water is not safe to drink for Dutch people and I had to find a solution to avoid bottled water. If you’re not sure whether you can drink tap water on your holiday, this a (Dutch) site where you can check on each country and region.

A bottle with a filter

It bugged me to use bottled water on holidays. All that plastic waste! But it was the only way. I would never risk anything or compromise my health. So I just drank bottled water. Until I found the solution one day! A special type of bottle with a filter. This probably sounds familiar to hikers and campers or any person who goes outdoors a lot, but I had never heard of it before haha! My dad and I mostly went to all-inclusive resorts so I have some skills to improve on the outdoor life haha (which is my responsibility and not his obviously). Anyway, back to that bottled. There are multiple brands out there, I have Brita and I am very happy with it! I have never gotten sick from drinking the water and it’s easy to use.

Brita

If you buy a water bottle with a filter, I would personally suggest buying one secondhand, since that is the most sustainable option when purchasing. My Brita is new unfortunately, because I found out about it one day before my holiday and so my only options were to buy it new at a local store where they had it in stock (Ekoplaza) or find one after my holiday. I chose to buy it new that day so I could use it on my holiday.

How to use it

So here’s how it works. It is fairly easy. The bottled basically consist of four parts. The bottle, a filter, the nozzle and a lid. What you do is: you place the filter between the bottled and nozzle. Then you can just fill your bottle like you would normally do, but now when you drink it the water gets filtered! Easy peasy. Clean water all around the world! You can use tap water this way anywhere and there is no need to buy bottled water ever again. You do however need to change the filter after a while. But since I only use it on holidays, I think the waste will be minimal. The filters are made out of coconut shells, but I have e-mailed BRITA about the recyclability of the filters and they say they should go to landfill. It’s a big bummer, but since they’re made out of coconut shells I think this is better than using plastic bottles.

Big things can’t be compensated

From a sustainability point of view this is a small step. If you’re new to a sustainable lifestyle or don’t know where to start, read this book first (along with this post about an eco-positive lifestyle). It explains the 10 things that you can do best for the climate crisis. Ditching the airplane is a big one for example. Living a zero waste lifestyle is not in the top 10. Therefore I would recommend to focus on the 10 big things that make the biggest impact. So if you could choose between flying but using the Brita on your holidays or going on holiday by train without using the Brita, choose the latter. It’s just a matter of impact. I have seen people flying to Bali to pick up litter for 4 weeks there. I am not against that, I am just saying that it’s not the way to go. This does not mean that the Brita is not important, it’s just less important. I would recommend on focusing on the big areas first (like when I decided to ditch the plane) and then to the smaller areas (like when I bought the Brita). Don’t get me wrong, all effort is great! But you want it make a big change right? This way we make the biggest chance of tackling the climate crisis together!

Disclaimer: of course this is an odd time to share things about holidays. We’re in the midst of the coronacrisis and it’s recommended to stay in The Netherlands. Unfortunately, I do see people around me traveling to foreign countries and that’s why I decided to still share this.

Yours sincerely,
Romee

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