Prompted by the slip of paper inside a favorite (and very practical!) Christmas present—a kleen kanteen water bottle—I’ve decided to kick off the new year with a 30-day commitment to reduce the amount of single-use disposable items in my life.
After all the horribly depressing reading I’ve done about plastic consumption over the last few months while gearing up to work on the next draft of Bottle of Pop with author Gregory Mone, it’s clear that 1) any plastic I use contributes to our growing global problem, and 2) there’s a lot more I can do to reduce my plastic use. To give you a little glimpse at my reading, I’d never before realized that not only does every major ocean has it’s own version of the Great Pacific garbage patch, a 2008 oceanic study concluded that earth’s plastic to plankton ratio is currently 6:1. (AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!) (Please note: If you don’t know much about plankton or why this is so terrible, look it up!) Other statistics include that only 27% of plastic bottles are ever recycled in the US, that Americans buy more than half a billion bottles of water per week, and that it takes about 700 years for a plastic bottle to decompose. That means that for 3 out of 4 bottles of water, soda or juice that you buy, when your great great great great great…(18 more times)… grandchildren are born they will still be here on earth. YIKES!
Unlike the big bad problem of climate change, which can feel so vast and may have so many contributing factors, the problem of plastic feels like something that everyone—from little kids to centenarians—can make a difference with. It’s not like my husband and I don’t already own reusable shopping bags, cloth napkins, drink cups with straws, travel mugs, tupperware containers, and metal water bottles—we do!!—but there are plenty of upgrades that we can make too, like finding a good substitute for film plastic produce bags and doing more shopping in bulk. Really the hardest part is to remember to grab the right stuff when leaving the apartment (especially when it comes to the drink cups). This 30-day commitment is really just a continuation of something I’m already doing, but renewing it with the new year feels like a clean start. As Kleen Kanteen says on their website, “start small, and see how it goes.”
As for my new water bottle, today is my first day of trying it out. There’s no smell (just the smell of water!), I love the brushed finish, I love the bamboo on top, and I love that the silicon ring isn’t going to get moldy and gross like the cap on my former Sigg bottle. I’m also excited to find that Kleen Kanteen seems to have some of the healthiest water bottles and other products on the market, along with a big commitment to the environmental integrity of their products. And, best of all, please give me a shout if you’re joining me in my 30-day commitment! If you like, you can even register with kleen kanteen here. Welcome to 2014, and happy new year!