Americans purchase over 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles every year. This averages to about 13 bottles per month for every person in the United States. Across the U.S. plastic bottles, including PET (#1), HDPE (#2) and PP (#5), are recycled at a rate of 29.7%. Recycling of plastics is competing with cheaper “virgin plastics”, which is affecting the value of recycled material worldwide (B.A.N.). “Paper” coffee cups are a problem for the environment as well. Most recycling facilities don’t recycle paper cups because to do so, they would have to separate the plastic lining from the paper and most facilities find that process to be more trouble than it is worth. This makes the cups effectively non-recyclable, so the cups end up in landfills or the environment. Some once beautiful beaches in Asia are inundated with plastic. Whales and marine life are dying from mistaking these single use plastics for food. This is a horrifying and unnecessary pollutant, a hazard to marine life and our own health, as well as a waste of our natural resources. Simple actions like refusing single-use plastics and planning ahead to bring your own cups and cutlery can make a huge difference. In this post I’ve lined up some of my favorite on-the-go items.
Getting a water bottle for on-the-go drinking is an easy way to help prevent unnecessary waste. It is one of the easiest switches I have made and truly a better way to live life. The water stays cooler longer, the bottle is easier to drink from and there is no worrying about the plastic roasting in the sun and leaking BPA into the water. Did I also mention that they are way better looking with so many options to choose from depending on your drinking preferences? I prefer a flip top sport style for when I’m working out and then carry an insulated tumbler with a straw for the rest of the day. I currently use a Camelbak for my workouts. I have had it for four years and don’t plan on buying new unless necessary. I have heard great things about HydroFlasks so I included it below as a workout option. The Klean Kanteen insulated tumbler with straw is what I use for smoothies or any other on-the-go beverage so it’s nice to already always have with me as my water bottle. S’well water bottles are a perfect combination of form and function and great for throwing in your purse for the day.
Another on-the-go switch is to-go coffee cups. This switch is even more important than water bottles in my opinion since to-go coffee cups are considered non recyclable items by most recycling facilities (except TerraCycle of course). Because the coffee cups are a mixed plastic it is considered too costly and time-inefficient to take them apart in a recycling facility. I have tried a couple of reusable coffee cups that I have enjoyed drinking from so much more than the plastic carry out option from the coffee shop. Frank Green is my favorite. The cup fits nicely in my hand and the drinking spout feels very similar (yet better) to drinking out of a single-use coffee cup. The push button on top opens or closes the drinking spout from within so you can throw it in you bag and not worry about it spilling. It has been very reliable. KeepCup is another popular and eco-friendly option for coffee. I also love the versatility of Yeti and Klean Kanteen tumblers. There are really so many great options out there to choose from. What is most important is to find something that works for you daily life. For instance, if someone does a coffee run for your office in the morning, maybe have the office invest in several reusable cups for them to take to the coffee shop?
carrying multiple bottles not your thing?
My husband doesn’t like to carry around a bag so it was a challenge for him to carry around a to-go coffee cup and water bottle. He decided to use one mug for both and just rinse out in between. The Yeti or Klean Kanteen tumblers are great for this since you can transition to a different top + straw if desired but keep the same base. It can take time to make any switch feel right for you and your daily routine, but its worth the effort to reduce these single-use plastics we have grown so reliant on.