On Water Bottles, and Becoming a Narc

stainless
20 oz Silver Crow, I love you

Extolling the virtues of my (now not-so-) new stainless steel water bottles has been on my to do list for a while. The fire was lit, this morning, by an op-ed in the Globe, entitled Bottled-water scam finally feels squeeze.

According to Jackson’s piece, “Three-quarters of water bottles end up in landfills.” Add to that the following:

Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006, sold in bottles ranging from the 8-ounce aquapods popular in school lunches to the multi-gallon bottles found in family refrigerators and office water coolers. [Pacific Institute]

That means that in 2006 alone, 23.4 billion liters worth of water bottles ended up in landfills thanks to American citizens. One year. Ouch.

There is a place for bottled water… like when you’re in Southeast Asia and you don’t want to get sick (open to better alternatives!), or you’re out at a nice dinner, and you want sparkling rather than still. The rest of the time, stainless steel is the way: durable, safe, and easy to clean.

I am a coffee fiend; I’ll drink it right up until I crawl into bed (to the detriment of my health, I’m sure). Drinking water is something I’m really bad at. I know I need it, but I just don’t think of it. While living in Boulder years ago, I discovered that a water bottle stuffed in my back pocket (the jeans were baggier back in the day) solved improved this for me. Have bottle, will drink. Why I am more likely to drink water out of a bottle than a cup or glass?! It’s inconvenient, this bad habit.

Enter the gym. When I finally started using my gym membership, I found that I drink lots of water at the gym. I know that reusing plastic bottles is a bad idea, but I was guiltily doing it each time. After a few weeks of regular gym-going, my sensible self kicked my procrastinator self’s ass, and I started researching stainless bottles online. I had a visual in mind, which made it a little more complicated … I wanted a white bottle with pretty graphics. “Pretty” might seem wide open, but I’m picky when it comes to design. Me, making things more complicated? Never!

I finally settled on the 13 oz Leaves model made by EarthLust. It was smaller than I really needed for the gym, but I am willing to sacrifice the moment of workout it takes to hop off the cardio machine for a refill if it means satisfying the design issue. Two thumbs down on the company name, but whatever.

water

Ever the Googler, I found this same bottle for a buck or two cheaper through a store on Amazon (not as good as bricks and mortar, I know!), and bought it. Big mistake! When the package arrived, it had what looked like photocopied grey leaves printed on cheap/thin white paint that was already flaking off. The most egregious part? It wasn’t even stainless steel! The threads on the inside of the top were some kind of yellow metal. Planning to go to the gym that night with my trusty new bottle, I was furious. It was a cheap knock-off; I’d been had.

It is at this point that I crossed over into a realm that I’m not comfortable or familiar with… I blew the whistle on the seller:

I just wanted to inform you of what appears to be a knock-off of your product. I purchased what I expected to be a green leaves 13oz bottle from Online Fitness (via Amazon), and received a poorly printed bottle with your logo, grey leaves, scratches, a cheap lid, and non-stainless threading!

Sorry for the very poor quality cell phone photos, but I’m at work and don’t have a real camera here. I wanted you to have some proof in case this is something they’re doing regularly. I’m sending this bottle back to them for a refund. I’ve also attached the email response I received from the seller informing me where I can return the item to (onlinecomponents.com, another company).

I am now (you can imagine) afraid to make another purchase of this item online… Can you tell me any stores in Boston or Cambridge (Massachusetts) that carry this item, so that I can check it out and make the purchase in person?

It sounds so lame, rereading it (even ignoring the grammar issues), but I was pissed. In my mind I began labeling myself “Tattle Tale” and “Narc.” I had entered the world of people-who-point-fingers-at-rule-breakers. My shame morphed into delight, however, when I received this response:

Why don’t you send me your address and we’ll send you one directly…

Thanks so much for your email!!

Allison
EarthLust

Ha! That’s why all those annoying kids did it! Tattling pays!!

To shorten an already long post, I forgave EarthLust for their shitty name. The real bottle showed up, and it’s perfect for the gym. I even bought another bottle from them for home (20 oz Silver Crow), and a larger (1L) but otherwise identical one for L. What can I say, we have similar taste in graphics. We now hydrate more effectively (loads of room for improvement here, still). The end.

stainless

p.s. That 1 L Stone Spiral is pretty sweet… just sayin’.

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9 thoughts on “On Water Bottles, and Becoming a Narc

  1. Ah, the vexed issue of the globe’s most precious commodity. There is a town here in Australia which has banned the sale of bottled water and installed taps along its main street to encourage refilling on the hoof. Plastic shopping bags are being phased out here too. Paying for a plastic bag at the checkout is a real aide memoir as far as packing calicos – for me anyway. The only thing I don’t like about the Sigg style bottle is the clunk of metal against the tooth. I used to have a not so pretty but entirely practical Nalgene with the bike bottle top but alas left it on a plane *sigh* Good work on your bottle promotion and beautifully executed photo too!

    • Your first sentence pretty much sums it up.

      I don’t think people are going to change until they have to. Paying for bags and banning bottled water are hassles, but they seem like reasonable solutions. I’m terrible at remembering to pack cloth bags for the supermarket, but I have gotten in the habit of taking them with me to the farmer’s market. Baby steps.

      Regarding “the clunk of metal against the tooth,” for some reason it doesn’t bother me too much. I wonder if it’s that when I went hiking as a kid with my Grandpa, we’d carry tin cups to drink water out of the mountain streams with. The water was infinitely better than any I’ve had in a bottle, and the hiking was so much fun… I always enjoyed dipping the tin cup into the stream and drinking out of it. Thanks, Grandpa, wherever you are.

      p.s. What has prompted your switch from Blorgie to Blorgie1?

    • For great shopping bags have a look at ecosilkbags.com.au they are a Queensland company but post worldwide. I had to abandon my old Blorgie photostream because I lost my login details and couldn’t retrieve them from Flickr. Now I’m having trouble uploading photos! Can’t even load my old buddy icon. (Loves technology but is a bit stupid with it).

  2. I keep my Nalgene bottle for water & Zojirushi thermos bottle for coffee at work at all times. But my Zojirushi isn’t as nearly cute as your bottle.

    • i always meant to buy a nalgene, but i never got around to it, and then it came out that even they released bhp into the water. i hope you have a newer (improved) one! i should get a zojirushi vacuum bottle… we have a vacuum pot at home, though, and i work from home 3 days a week… haven’t justified having one for my office, i just use a mug.

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