It's Not Easy Being Bottle Green

And when I say not easy I mean that in the most First World, pompous ass kind of way. I know, I shouldn’t say that anything about my life isn’t easy when there are housewives in India without Reynolds turkey bags.

But if a frog can sing that it’s hard being a puppet of color, I think I can write a blog about how hard it is to try to be environmentally correct at a time when life is full of enticing conveniences that will send our planet careening toward a very hot or very cold death.

I made some resolutions a few years ago that I was going to try to get my carbon footprint down to a bare minimum. Secretly, I made a vow to do it without bragging, without asking for credit, and without trying to nag or guilt my family to do the same. I thought that if I set an example, quietly and humbly - acting the cheerful martyr role without having to dress like Mother Theresa - maybe my family would follow my example. This style of management is not my thing, but I figured I’d give it a try.

So I focused on bottled water. My family was going through almost two cases of bottled water every week and I decided that had to stop. Half-filled plastic bottles were in every cup-holder in every car, a minimum of six in both refrigerators. We weren’t so much drinking two cases of water a week as much as we were opening the lids on two cases of water a week. 

The last straw was the TV commercial that showed water bottles used by careless Americans lined up and circling the earth four times. I knew, deep down, that the ones that ran through Yellowstone were the ones from my house.

So I bought a couple of stainless steel water bottles, adjusted my taste buds to tolerate the metal taste, got used to unscrewing a lid that had too many grooves (really, how many times should a lid have to be turned? It’s just unnecessary), adapted to how cold my hand got carrying the thing (what, they couldn’t put an insulated strip around it?), sucked it up and stopped using bottled water altogether.

My family did not follow suit.

“Grabbing a bottle of water from the case in the garage is so convenient,” my husband said, “it’s the only reason I drink enough water now.” 

Damn him, he was right. I knew that without some added grief, no one was going to be motivated to drop the bottled water habit.

So I kept at it. I “forgot” to buy bottled water at the grocery store. I claimed Winn Dixie “was out” of water because of overly hurricane-prepared people. That backfired on me. Someone would jump in the car and run in and buy a case of Dasani displayed in the front of the store, water that was not on sale, not even a little bit.

I tried a different tack. I started to buy the cheapest cases of water, with the thinnest plastic and the tiniest lids. If you could get them open, you had to handle them with kid gloves so the water wouldn’t spurt out at you.

They all have driver’s licenses and their own debit cards, so they just kept going to Winn Dixie and buying the gourmet water.

Overall, it was a failed coup.

I am spending 2013 continuing my own personal ban on bottled water, and I’ve upgraded my tin bottle to a snazzy brown flowery one that matches my running shoes. My hipness does not impress my family. They’re still opening the lids of bottled water. I think my only hope is when they start selling water in biodegradable bottles. It will cost a fortune so my family will be sure to snap that right up.

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