25 Days to Green Travel: Day Fourteen - Drinking the Water

Tips for Healthy Water Abroad

Bottled water destroys the earth, but I might be drinking someone else’s leftover Viagra in my tap water? If recent news of hormone disrupting BPA in water bottles, pharmaceuticals in U.S. tap water, and the environmental impact of bottled water has got you down, you’re not alone.
In the U.S., drinking filtered tap water is the way to go. But when you’re traveling abroad, it’s not always a safe option Besides, who carries a Brita pitcher in their pack?
Here are some (realistic) environmentally-friendly tips for finding healthy water anywhere.
Filter tap water. If tap water is safe to drink, drink it; but filter it when you can. In the U.S., tap water is better regulated than bottled water so it’s a safer bet. And carbon filters (like Brita) and reverse osmosis (R.O.) systems remove most of the not-so-pleasant things that find their way into our water.
Avoid the disposable water bottles. Cheap plastic bottles are hard on the environment and they can leach chemicals that are bad for your health. Skip them when you can. Use a Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle instead.
photo credit: Conor Lawless
Boil your water. If you know tap water isn’t safe to drink, boil it to kill bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should “boil water vigorously for 1 minute and allow it to cool to room temperature.”
Buy big jugs when you need to drink bottled. Sometimes bottled water is the safest and most convenient option. When you have to buy bottled, get big jugs. They create less waste so they’re better for the environment.
Invest in a stainless steel or other reusable water bottle. Our personal favorite is Klean Kanteen because unlike polycarbonate plastic bottles, they’re free of bisphenol A. And they’re pretty lightweight. If you’re in a city where you have to drink bottled water, pour some of the water from your jug into your Klean Kanteen before heading out for the day. For more info on finding a water bottle that’s right for you, check out our post on How to Choose a Healthy Water Bottle: 34 Resources.
On drinking tap water in developing (and some developed) countries. Just in case I didn’t make this totally clear, please don’t go an en environmental crusade when traveling and decide to universally ditch bottled water in favor of tap water. In some places there are bacteria in water that could make you sick or kill you. (Cryptosporidiosis, anyone?) The good news is there are some easy steps you can take to avoid getting sick. The CDC’s Water Treatment Guide will get you started.
This is the fourteenth post in Go Green Travel Green’s 25 Days to Green Travel series. You can see the complete list of articles in the 25 Days to Green Travel Index.
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Anonymous said…
Great post and I can say i'm guilty of ditching the water bottle in those times. Great great advice.

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