Sustainability can be daunting. I remember wanting to change my habits but feeling completely overwhelmed at how much there was to change. I felt like I had to do something drastic in order to make a difference.
But the only way to make big things happen is one step at a time, right?
These tips are my gifts to you! I’m still on my path to being a better steward of this planet but thinking back to last year, figuring out where the heck to start was one of my biggest obstacles.
I’ll be sharing these simple swaps based on the order of the changes I’ve made in my life. Starting with water bottles.
I feel about plastic water bottles the way Taylor Swift feels about her and whomever getting back together. It’s never, ever, ever happening.
I made the decision to stop using plastic water bottles in 2011. Before then, I’d always excused my use of plastic bottles because I diligently put them in the recycle bin.
Studying abroad in Costa Rica changed a few things. For one, I was on a very limited budget. With so many ways to refill a water bottle at school or while traveling, I didn’t see the point in spending money on water. At home I could hold a job to help offset my costs of living. I couldn’t do that in Costa Rica. I bought a reusable water bottle and used it the whole time I was in Costa Rica.
Back home, I did a little experimentation when it came to water bottles. I went through plastic, glass, and stainless steel bottles. My next reusable bottle was a small green plastic one I bought in the kid’s lunch section at Target. I used that bottle until it gave out and cracked. The next reusable water bottle I used was a glass one I got from work. I loved the look and sustainability perks of the glass, but the bottle would sweat and get slippery. Worse, I always spilled water all over myself when drinking out of it. Maybe it was user error, maybe it was bad design. Either way, I quit using it.
Then last summer while Brandon and I were in Squaw Valley with family, I came across a S’well bottle in one of the little gift shops in the Olympic Village. I almost didn't buy it because it was $35 for a 17 ounce bottle. It seemed kind of steep but I gave myself permission to splurge on the bottle and consider it my trip souvenir.
Let me tell you, I LOVE this bottle. It has lived up to its selling points (cold for 24 hours, hot for 12) and I've gotten tons of compliments on it. I’ve left that thing in my car in the sweltering Northern California summer for hours only to find the water in my bottle as cold as it was when it came out of the fridge. I even got my old job to start selling them because I couldn't shut up about how fabulous my water bottle was. I loved the S’well bottle so much, I’ve since gifted them to almost everyone in my life.
It might sound a little weird, but having a product I’m excited about is so helpful in keeping up my eco-friendly habits when I get lazy. I guess it’s like finding the path of least resistance. Change is hard, generally speaking. For me, having a bottle that I was excited about made it a thousand times easier to remember to pack it in my purse, which really is the key to reducing plastic consumption. There’s no sense in spending money on a water bottle I keep forgetting to use!