Much has been made of the environmental hazard posed by bottled water. In an effort to be healthy, many people are choosing water over sugary drinks, but they aren’t recycling the bottles properly (remember, always take the caps off your bottles when you put them in the recycling bin-recyclers don’t take caps and may even reject the load altogether if the bottles have caps) or not recycling them at all (see my woeful tale of attempting to save a discarded bottle here).
I recycle my bottles religiously, but in the interest of saving money and cutting down on the packaging and fuss of buying all those bottles, I decided to go the reusable route. I happen to find our city water here in Greensboro very palatable, but alas, I can’t simply refill my plastic water bottles with it because apparently the chlorination reacts with the plastic and makes a yucky taste. I decided to buy a traditional glass carafe and cup to take the place of the plastic water bottle on my nightstand.
I went to Wal-Mart to find an expensive bedside carafe; unfortunately, the only carafes they had were those wine carafes with the ultra-wide necks (which, just in case you were wondering, let the wine “breathe”). Nothing I could fit a glass over. However, something else caught my eye: a colorful, blue-and-green aluminum water bottle. Eco-Friendly!! The sign hyped. Well, that’s me, I thought. I couldn’t find the price, but I picked one up, thinking it could only be a couple of dollars. While checking out, I discovered it was actually $4.00, a little higher than I’d expected, but for something that will last for some great while and save my buying bottled water, certainly it was a worthy investment.
The bottle consists of an aluminum body (labeled “recyclable”–not “recycled”) and a plastic cap with straw. The instructions caution against microwaving (duh, it’s metal!) and specify hand washing only. The aluminum part is made in the good ol’ U.S.A., but the plastic cap and straw are manufactured in China and shipped here, so that wrecks the environmentally-friendly aspect just a tad.
It also probably resulted in the problems I encountered while attempting to use the bottle for its intended function: It leaks where the cap joins the bottle, which I found out immediately while hand-washing, and air leaks into the straw, which I found out while drinking. If you have ever tried to drink a beverage that is being “aerated” by a leaky straw, you will understand how annoying this is. And when I tried to disconnect the straw and just tip up the bottle to drink, the water dribbled out of the leak at the cap join!
So, essentially the Wal-Mart reusable water bottle is useless, but all is not completely lost-at least it’s (partially) recyclable. Into the bin it goes!