Dreike: These water bottles, food wraps, dishcloths let you reuse rather than fill the dump - Albuquerque Journal

Dreike: These water bottles, food wraps, dishcloths let you reuse rather than fill the dump

In 2021, 15.3 billion gallons of bottled water were sold in the United States. Over the last 10 years, the country’s bottled water sales volume had increased considerably with each consecutive year. As bottled water volume sales increased in recent years, so did per capita consumption in the United States. Over the last decade, yearly bottled water consumption grew by almost 40% percent, reaching a total of almost 47 gallons per person in 2021. Bottled water was the most commonly consumed beverage among Americans one year earlier, with carbonated soft drinks ranking a close second.

Reusable bottles

It may seem to many to be a recent trend, but reusable bottles have been around for hundreds of years. From ancient civilizations using clay or water skins to recent history of using glass and soldiers using canteens to remain hydrated.

Aluminum was first used to make water bottles in the late 1940s to early 1950s for bicyclists for weight and durability. Also in the ’50s, stainless steel was used to make water bottles.

Plastic bottles came into use around 1947 and became cheaper with the use of polyethylene plastic in the ’60s.

Plastic vs. aluminum

It is common to see people at the gym or at outdoor recreation carrying a reusable water bottle. The most common are plastic or aluminum bottles. Either are better than the one-time use bottles that end up in our landfill.

Multi-use plastic bottles are durable, lightweight, dishwasher-safe and can be BPA-free. They are made from a variety of different plastics. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, crude oil is a source of raw material, i.e. feedstock, for making plastics, it is not the major source of feedstock for plastics production in the United States. Plastics are produced from natural gas, feedstocks derived from natural gas processing, and feedstocks derived from crude oil refining. Even multi-use plastic bottles make it to recycling – hopefully rather than the land fill – because they crack or spring a leak over time and use in different climates. Plastic is melted down and reproduced into other items such as synthetic clothing or carpets. You may have seen tags such as “this item includes 4 recycled bottles.”

Multi-use aluminum bottles are described as sustainable, safe, and durable. Aluminum can be recycled infinitely. According to the Aluminum Association, nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today. The CDC says aluminum is not harmful to health. It is a durable product and resistant to corrosion.

Bottled H2O fun fact

Bottled water was sold in the mid-18th century as a medicinal tonic with claims of cures for illnesses. Bottled water from natural springs became a status symbol partly due to the cost of glass to bottle it.

NM water quality

According to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority, every year thousands of water samples are collected to test the quality of water delivered to your home. Our water meets all federal and state standards for drinking water quality and has been recognized for its good taste. There is a water quality map at www.abcwua.org, click on “your water,” and the table gives a summary of voluntary monitoring for each zone.

Reusable food covers

  • Beeswax wrap is a food wrap material consisting of a coated fabric; cotton is the most common. It is made by infusing cotton with food-grade beeswax, rosin, coconut oil and jojoba oil. It is an alternative to plastic wrap. It can be molded around dishes and is grippable. Beeswax wrap can be handwashed after use and air-dried. It is said to last up to a year and can be composted.
  • Reusable stretch plastic wrap covers come in varied sizes; most are round with elastic at the edge. Handwash and air-dry.
  • Silicone stretch lids come in various sizes and are described as dishwasher and freezer safe.
  • PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric covers with elastic at the edges can be machine washed and dried.

You may be able to find versions at shops such as the Blue Portal or others including online that carry locally made items.

Paper towel options

Swedish dishcloths are reusable dishcloths described as an alternative to sponges and paper towels. They are woven with 70% cellulose and 30% natural cotton. They can be used with soap to clean or to wipe up spills, rinsed and wrung out for the next use, washed in the dishwasher or washing machine. A friend recently mentioned she had not bought paper towels in over a year.

A quick search found Swedish dishcloths at local retail and online.

Sources: statista.com/statistics/237832/volume-of-bottled-water-in-the-us/


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