As I’ve written before, recycling is not the answer; rather, the focus should be on reducing waste in the first place. However, in certain circumstances, like when you’re travelling in urban centres, it’d be nice to be able to recycle your water bottle rather than throw it out. I recently made a few trips south of the border to New York, Washington DC and Phoenix and was greatly disappointed by the lack of recycling bins in the downtown areas for glass and plastic bottles.
Absolutely unacceptable - Manhattan garbage
Let’s start off with New York City, an avant-garde city that starts positive trends. Yet, I was horrified by the amount of waste that was thrown out each night in front of boutiques and restaurants, not to mention, the lack of recycling bins throughout Manhattan. I remember asking an employee at Burger King (yes, I ate there but I had the veggie burger) where I could recycle my water bottle and the girl looked at me like I was crazy! I stayed at an awesome boutique hotel called the Room Mate Grace right in the Continue reading
Water bottles in landfill_Photo:M Erikkson
If you are like me, you LOVE to travel but hate the fact that you can’t recycle your water bottles along the way. I’ve been known to bring them back with me in my suitcase because I don’t have the heart to throw them out. My friend Monica just completed a one year backpacking trip around the world with her husband and gave me a great tip to share with you here.
Instead of buying countless bottles of water that will end up in the landfill or on the sides of roads (Ex. South America or India) try buying a SteriPENwater purifier. It will sterilise the water in your reusable water bottle (Eg. Nalgene bottle). According to the manufacturer:
[SteriPENis] a water purifier and pre-filter that uses shortwave ultraviolet light to disinfect water. When you immerse the lamp in the water it disrupts the DNA of bacteria, viruses and protozoa, rendering them harmless. The pre-filter can be used to help clear particulates and debris from water.
The SteriPEN is easy to use:
- Fill up your reusable bottle with water from your hostel, hotel or a water tap
- Insert the SteriPEN
- Wait 45 seconds per .5L of water
- Voilà! You’ve got clean water and just saved a bottle from the landfill
The ultraviolet light will last up to 8000 treatments. The SteriPEN uses 4 AA batteries. The best is NiMH rechargeable batteries. Four will treat up to 90L-105L of water. Note, when buying a battery recharger (recommended for cameras as well) get one that comes with a universal adapter. SteriPEN can be purchased in Canada at Mountain Equipment Co-op or REI in the states. Otherwise, you can consult the SteriPEN store locator. It retails for about $88 CAD or $90 US.
Happy green travels!