Rinse, reuse, refill

A man commented to me that it has been hot and dry as we waited in a line together last week. A reusable water bottle is a constant companion with me year-round, so I held up the blue metal bottle I had filled up before leaving the house and said I can’t drink enough water on hot days. He responded that he also drinks a lot of water and buys it by the case. He asked me if I buy a lot of water. I replied that we have several reusable bottles which we fill and take with us, so we rarely buy bottled water. He smiled and said that he buys water by the case and tosses the empties, “because it is so cheap.”

Water bottles come in all shapes and sizes. The stainless steel travel coffee tumbler (front row, far right) was part of an anniversary gift from my husband in 1996. Most coffee shops offer a discount if they fill your cup instead of theirs.

Water bottles come in all shapes and sizes. The stainless steel travel coffee tumbler (front row, far right) was part of an anniversary gift from my husband in 1996. Most coffee shops offer a discount if they fill your cup instead of theirs.

Two days later a cashier handed me a bottle of water with her business logo printed on it, saying they were complimentary for customers. My blue water bottle was on the check out counter, so I replied that I had my own bottle, but thanks anyway. She suggested I pour the water she had offered into my own bottle. I said I didn’t mind refilling my well-worn bottle at their water fountain instead. Her expression told me she didn’t understand why I preferred the water from the fountain. I told her my goal was to create less plastic waste. By refilling my own bottle she could save the one she offered to me for another customer and I was happy to refill my own. Rinse, refill, reuse. Drink up folks-it’s hot outside!

About Katherine Helms Cummings

During the day I am a social and environmental activist whose professional work has been in the nonprofit world for the last 12 years. Most nights and weekends I am an artisan making accessories with upcycled cashmere and woven textiles. My handmade items are available at The Sassy Gal http://thesassygal.org
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