One Easy Change Every Family can Make for a Better Environment

I have almost completely quit buying bottled water. (I realize “almost” and “completely” shouldn’t be in a sentence together.) I’ll cover the almost part in a bit, but first let me be proud of the changes we’ve made.

My family of five used to go through a lot of water bottles

I’m embarrassed about the amount we used to go through. Each kid took one to school every day. My husband and I took them to the gym. We took them in the car to run errands, took them to walk the dog—we grabbed them all day long.

In our defense, even in these carefree irresponsible days, I did always tell everyone to get a glass of water out of the fridge door when they were just drinking water at home. But grabbing a water bottle was such a habit, my kids didn’t follow this rule a lot of the time. And yes, we recycled the bottles when they were empty, but let’s be honest, recycling is not nearly as beneficial as reducing. And sadly, most of the water bottles sold in the U.S. are NOT being recycled.
plastic bottle waste

One of my daughters wanted a S’well reusable bottle for Christmas. I got on the S’well website to purchase one and they were so pretty! Plus when I was on the site, I read that in the US alone, an estimated 50 billion plastic bottles are dumped in landfill sites each year, and over 200 billion globally. 50 billion! I can’t even wrap my head around what that number is.

water bottle waste

It was, as Oprah used to say, an “aha moment.” Why in the world were we using so many water bottles? I finally stopped long enough to think about the amount of plastic waste our family was generating, and how completely unnecessary it was. I ended up getting four S’well bottles for Christmas. Merry Christmas to me, too. My husband already had a reusable bottle — wasn’t using it (yet!), but he owned one.

reusable water bottles S'well

Our S’well reusable bottles arrived

They were beautiful, they keep water ice cold, and we’ve never looked back. We fill them up every morning. They get carried to school and work, and then they get refilled for errands and dog walks and the gym and everything else. They fit in my car cup holders, and they’re big enough to hold what we want before getting back home, They don’t sweat, so they can get thrown in purses or backpacks. The water never has a “taste” to it from the bottle. It sounds like I’m a spokesperson for S’well, but I have absolutely no affiliation with them at all. There are a lot of pretty water bottles out there, but these are the ones we like. The best feature about all brands is that they are reusable and replace the plastic bottles.

water bottles


I even got a baby bottle holder to make it very easy for everyone to rinse out their bottle and put it somewhere quick and easy to grab in the mornings. I don’t see the exact one I bought, but it’s very similar to this one or this one. There are a lot to choose from. I figured the easier I made this for everyone, the more likely they would continue to use them. We done this consistently for six months now — I think it’s going to stick!



The disclaimer

Remember that oxymoron of “almost completely” that I opened with? Here’s the almost; I can’t do this on road trips. When we take trips, I’m just not dedicated enough to fill up our bottles in the restrooms (ewwww) of gas stations and truck stops along our way. So I’m still buying a case of water for traveling, but that’s the only bottled water I’m buying anymore. I felt like I needed to disclose that to keep this post completely real. And I have a lot of guilt when I buy that bottled water now, if that makes it better.

Unless we’re out of town though, we’ve been drinking out of our reusable bottles for six months without fail and I have skipped buying cases and cases and cases of water. Seriously, I wish I’d kept track of how many cases of water I bought a month, so I could put a number on how many I’m not buying now!

We have (almost) quit buying bottled water…

I know our family isn’t going to solve the plastic bottle waste problem, but it feels good to do what we can. It’s not much, but if everyone would reduce plastic water bottle usage, it could make a difference. And that’s a good thing.