If you take no other green steps this year, we implore you to kick the bottled water habit. Yes, yes, we've harped on this before; here, here and here (and probably a few other times as well).
One of the most frustrating "gimmicks" about water bottles is the recycling symbol. Unlike empty aluminum cans or glass jars, plastic bottles do NOT turn back into plastic bottles. Therefore, every bottle of water made of plastic continues to deplete petroleum resources by using virgin materials. Plastic bottles are recycled to synthetic carpet or plastic lumber. Ever try to drink water from a carpet swatch or lumber bottle?
The waste generated by bottled water is astronomical. Only 30% of water bottles are even recycled, the other 70% wind up in landfills or floating as plastic waste islands in the oceans and waterways.
We've been duped into thinking bottled water is somehow safer or more convenient. Consider the logic. Restaurants still serve tap water. If any industry were concerned about safety of what it is serving, it would be restaurants. But bottled water is no safer and also is ridiculously more expensive. Not to mention, what is more convenient that turning on a faucet and filling a glass exactly as full or half full as your thirst dictates?
Water fountains still exist in public places. In fact, Thermos company has sponsored an iPhone App to locate water fountains and encourage refilling (naturally) a thermos, but any water bottle will do. The app is free.
If water safety is a concern, several companies make water bottles with built in filters or water can be filtered in a pitcher or via the home faucet.
One hot day last summer, spending the afternoon at an outdoor amusement park, every member of our group had a refillable water bottle. We estimated that we saved half the cost of admission by filling our water bottles versus buying bottled water at $3.00/bottle. We each filled our bottles about 5 times and there were 5 of us. That was a savings of $15.00 per person for simply one day.
Rethink the obsession with overpriced, environmentally unfriendly, and no more safe than tap water from plastic bottles.