Water bottles: reading into the message

By Samantha Papesch

“By 2050 it’s estimated that the weight of plastic in our oceans will exceed the weight of fish” ~ Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Last week I lost my favourite water bottle.  I was gutted.

When it happened, I was holidaying in Queensland with my family and friends on a warm and sunny afternoon.  We were at a theme park, and I was high on the excitement of the waterslides; playing in the pools with my kids, and having a really awesome time.

As the sun went down, we did a quick round-up of our belongings and made our way back to our accommodation.  I was looking forward to a BBQ and a few rowdy beers to crown a picture-perfect day.  But, first I had to unpack the swimming bag.

When I pulled everything out and realised my water bottle was missing, I immediately went into a tailspin.  I double-checked the car, the washing pile and every other plausible location before eventually phoning lost property at the waterpark to enquire if it had turned up (it hadn’t).

After concluding that the cleaners had tossed it, I cursed myself for being so careless and did my best to forget about it.  But, I couldn’t shake my annoyance.  So, I downed a lone lager, excused myself from the fun, and with a face like a bulldog, I went to bed.

Fortunately the next day, after making a last ditch reccy to the scene, I found my water bottle in the exact same spot as I’d left it.  I was stoked (and so were my family).  Order was instantly restored, and our holiday was back to being awesome.

Under normal circumstances I’d reserve extreme reactions like this for the inconvenience of losing my car keys.  But, when it comes to this everyday item, I have some strong motives too:

  1. I’ve searched relentlessly for the perfect reusable water bottle.  A quest that only ended last year after stalking a woman on public transport and getting close enough to identify the brand of hers
  2. Hydration is one healthy habit I’ve consistently maintained throughout my life.  Wherever I go, my water bottle goes, and if it doesn’t, I am incomplete
  3. Substituting disposable water bottles is something I avoid at all costs due to their major environmental and health impacts, like the ones outlined in this recent report.

Up until a few years ago I was a passive consumer of disposable water bottles.  But, in 2013 after being inspired by a story about Boyan Slat, a 19 year old student who developed the world’s first ocean cleaning system, I could no longer justify my preference for convenience and taste, and decided to invest in a sustainable water storage solution instead.

As it turns out, finding the perfect reusable water bottle had almost the same degree of difficulty as finding a life partner.  But, the wait was definitely worth it when I finally locked eyes on the Tupperware Eco Square Water Bottle.

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(Buy online here)

Standing at 8” tall and holding 500mls, this ergonomically shaped bottle was the perfect match for me.  It came in a selection of cute colours, fitted conveniently in my handbag, and with a firm screw-top lid, there was less chance of accidental leakage.  Best of all, it didn’t buckle under intense dishwasher heat.

As some of you may know, Tupperware is backed by a lifetime guarantee, and always seems to last forever, which makes it even more appealing.  Unfortunately, this can’t be said for disposable water bottles, which begin to shed micro-plastic after just six weeks, presenting a serious threat to human health and marine ecosystems.

With the recent announcement of the NSW Container Deposit Scheme taking effect next July, and ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ now on the brink of deploying the world’s longest floating structure in history to collect plastic pollution, it’s reassuring that more mechanisms are in place to help tackle the growing problem.

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But, even though removal and recycling of plastic is key to a sustainable planet, prevention is always better than cure.  One simple way to do this is to reject disposable water bottles altogether, and trade them in for a reusable source.

Rescuing our favourite reusable water bottles instead of rescuing Earth is a much smaller price to pay.

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