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It’s Time to Give Up Bottled Water

December 01, 2014
By: Natalie

The next installment in our continuing blog series concerns Plastic Free Hawai‘i commitment number two: Give up bottled water.

Water is the source of life, hydration, energy, and all things green and growing. In Hawai‘i, we are particularly aware of the need to conserve andprotect water resources. However, both globally and nationally bottled water sales remain at an all time high. We gulp down this product at a price often higher than gasoline, creating excess waste, depriving many communities of affordable water access, and with risk to our health. Americans purchase over 70 billion single-use bottles of water each year, now surpassing the demand for milk or beer. That’s enough single-use plastic bottles to circle the globe more than 370 times. In 2012, Americans spent $11.8 billion on bottled water (http://www.newdream.org/programs/beyond-consumerism/unbottle-water). Below, we outline the multiple reasons to refuse bottled water in favor of delicious, filtered tap water in a reusable container.

Here are some key facts about bottled water:

Learn more from our friends at the Story of Stuff Project. Or check out the documentary Tapped available on Hulu. Or read Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water by Peter Gleik.

Slowly, more cities, parks, school campuses, and private businesses are choosing to refuse bottled water and “take back the tap.” This year, San Francisco, CA, Concord, MA, and the Grand Canyon National Park all passed ordinances to ban the sale of plastic water bottles. http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/san-francisco-bans-sale-plastic-water-bottles-climate-change

Beyond bans, a number of helpful hints can help you stay hydrated, save money, and reduce waste.

  • Always carry a reusable water container, even a mason jar will do the job. We recommend glass or food grade stainless steel products such as the Plastic Free Hawai‘i water bottle. 

  • Host a bottled water free event. Provide water refill stations at events or in business locations. Provide glassware or encourage attendees to BYOBottle in the invitations. If you still need to raise funds at your event or business, consider charging a small fee for compostable cups.

  • Get a hydration station. Seek support to install a sustainable, filtered water fountain at your school or work place. Otherwise, make sure filtered water is available in a pitcher in a central location.


  • Provide incentives for employees, students, or patrons who bring their own bottle. 

  • Prepare instead of making panic purchases. Climate events in Hawai‘i, such as hurricane and flood warnings, can cause bottled water sales to spike. Granted that bottled water can be very important in emergency situations, we encourage you to fill large tubs and coolers with tap water before rushing to buy bottles in excess.

If you want to bring awareness about bottled water to your school, business or community, let us know how we can help! You and your sustainability team will also find a number of useful resources at the Unbottle Water Campaign website hosted by the Center for a New American Dream.

Stay tuned for more Plastic Free Hawai‘i tips and resources!