My Earth Day Project: Breaking the Water Bottle Cycle at Our Little House

Each year on Earth Day, I try to make one more small change around Our Little House that will help the planet (and it also typically saves us money and space). For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, or who read my book, this confession might come as somewhat of a surprise. I’ve long been a “tree hugger,” I consider myself an environmentalist, but as with all things in life, I’m not perfect.

I take cloth grocery bags to the store and have been since 1988. We are mindful of packaging, even returning our locally sources egg cartons to the store so the farmer can use them again. We reuse and recycle as much as possible.

When we moved to Our Little House in 2007, we couldn’t drink the water from the tap as we had a large water tank and water suitable for bathing and washing clothes was delivered from a truck when we needed it. We had never used bottled water before, our chemically treated city water from the tap had always suited us just fine.

Once we got into using bottled water, however, the habit became hard to break, even after we had our well dug. Dale said he preferred bottled water to the “unknowns” of what might be lurking in our well deep in the ground and declared that even if we had it tested, it might get contaminated before we tested it again (I had already disproved his belief with research that the hard water in the well might do something to our innards, as well as the dogs’.)

I insisted we reuse and recycle those bottles, but it still didn’t sit well with me that we were using valuable resources to have those bottles produced and recycled in the first place. Another thing: We were spending at least $8 per week on water. That’s over $3,700 we’ve spent in the past 9 years on top of the thousands we paid to have the well dug.

The years rolled on and despite all of our neighbors telling us they drink their well water, Dale didn’t trust it. Then came the news from Flint, Michigan about unsafe levels of lead in treated city water and other articles saying that much of the nation’s treated water (which is where bottled water comes from) tests positive for various chemicals and contaminates.

I put my foot down. I told Dale he could do whatever he wanted with regards to the water he took to work to drink, but I would no longer be buying bottled water to drink and cook with at home.

My Earth Day resolve this year was to have the well tested and ditch the bottles forever. The well tested fine and I’ve been drinking and cooking with the well water for nearly two months. Dale still doesn’t trust it and continues to take small bottles of water to work, but I feel I’ve made a step in the right direction. Any action we do to help our environment at this point is action worth taking.

And, I won’t stop working on Dale, either.

What will you be doing this Earth Day, or have you resolved to make a change to help the environment? 



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2 Responses

  1. Raleigh says:

    I’d like to find out more? I’d like to find out more details.

  2. Yu Ri Kim says:

    I live in Hong Kong where tap water is generally thought of as unsafe, so I got so used to drinking bottled water as well. I read an article recently that said plastic water bottles are actually very conducive to bacterial growth…I switched to using mugs and my new water bottle. I refill wherever there is a water fountain that I trust, and I’m good to go! Thanks for the inspiring story 🙂