Wednesday, April 18, 2012 0 comments

Plastic Islands (ITC Week 16)

That island of plastic debris swirling in the mid-Pacific scares me.  Food waste, wood, paper—all that will disintegrate, but plastic…that stuff’s going to be around a while.  The number of plastic bottles I use myself is a bit overwhelming, and I’m just one person.  Unfortunately, the green tea I like only comes in 16.9 oz bottles; I wish they had jugs of it so that I could just refill a bottle instead of using so many. 
When I’m traveling, I try to keep one water bottle for as long as possible, refilling it when I get the chance. This was easy in Europe; there was always a museum or large store with water fountains right across the road.  In Rome, and many other places in Italy, there are public fountains on the sidewalk.  It’s been a lot more challenging in Asia, as tap water is often not potable. When I’m at home, I try to buy tea and juice in the two liter size and drink out of a glass, but on the road it seem inevitable to end up using three or four bottles a day.  I don’t remember hostels having water tanks available; I wish they would—I’d chip in bit to fill my bottle. 
At least it seems that recycling facilities are becoming more common, although nowhere near fast enough, in my opinion.  Any other travelers have any suggestions on how to use fewer water bottles, or how to environmentally friendly while traveling?