How to Cut Back on Waste Without Breaking the Bank

BKR water bottles are a new brand that you may have seen around town at Chapters or Sephora. These glass bottles range anywhere from $48 to $75, each. Yes, that’s the retail amount for a glass water bottle. 

The only justification for this price tag seems to be that because the water bottles are just so damn beautiful, people will drink more water from them, leading to less plastic water bottle waste in the environment and better looking skin for make up applications. 

The price tag and advertisement promises of this brand lead to a bigger issue. Corporations are always trying to make money off of something, including making better choices for the environment. Only a specific population is able to spend $75 on a water bottle, which subtly indicates that if someone is unable to hash over that kind of cash, their eco-friendly contributions are somehow not equal. 

I wanted to take the opportunity to de-bunk this notion and bring to light all the actions one can take to be more eco-conscious in our local community without having to purchase an unaffordable reuseable water bottle.

We all know that straws are horrible for the environment, so asking your barista for no straw with your beverage is a small action with a domino effect on our environment. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can also ask your favorite coffee place to make your drink in your own mug, thermos or iced drink cup. In our own community, Aroma Café and Seven Shores, are big supporters of this initiative. If you are a Starbucks lover, ask for your drink with a Nitro lid, which is basically the adult version of a sippy cup. 

Bulk Barn, Full Circle Foods and the soon-to-be new edition to uptown Waterloo, Zero Waste Bulk, all offer no packaging options for your grocery and bulk needs. With all of these grocers, you are able to bring in your own containers to cut down on single-use plastic.  

Reusable bags are a no-brainer at this point in the game. They are relatively inexpensive and last forever. Many reusable bags are now compostable as well. 

Leaving the plastic produce bags behind is another small change leading to less plastic waste. You are going to wash your produce anyways, so protecting them with plastic is unnecessary. Locally, Pfennings Organic and More and Full Circle Foods are leaders in this concept. 

Many yoga studios are prime examples on how to re-use and recycle items. Queen Street Yoga cuts up old towels and makes them into mat cleaning rags, they make their own yoga mat cleaner, hand wash the cups in their studio and refrain from using non-eco friendly products. Picking a workout spot that is eco-friendly will have an effect not only on your physical body, but the environment around you. 

You don’t need a $75 water bottle. Any water bottle that is not a single-use plastic water bottle is a positive action. Remind me, why does bottled water even exist anymore?

Remember, corporations have one goal in mind: to make money. Think critically and remember that even small, free and inexpensive lifestyle changes have a positive impact on our environment.