Getting off the Bottle

  • in 2007, 130 million PET plastic water bottles ended up in BC's landfill alone

  • up to 28% of the average PET plastic water bottle's volume is needed in crude oil to manufacture, fill and transport it

  • since 2002, the sales of PET water bottles in BC have gone up 247%

  • most of the water in bottled water comes from the exact same source as your free tap water comes from

  • manufacturing bottled water releases at least 2 toxic substances into our air

These are the facts still ringing through my head after spending the weekend with a bunch of excited kids about doing the water bottle project. With Catching the Spirit- the youth environment and sustainability camp I work with- we were doing Toxic Free Canada's "Getting off the Bottle" project as our stewardship project this weekend.

With our 15 youth, we went up to the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano Reservoir in hopes of educating people on the environmental impact of drinking bottled water, and hoping they'd pledge to reduce their consumption of bottled water. What better place to do this project than right beside the reservoir itself; which we get our tap water from- some of the cleanest in the world too!

So with the kids, we split into different groups; one was educating people, with the facts and stats above, one was collecting pledges, and one was collecting bottles out of garbage cans and off the ground.

It was so neat to see the kids teaching adults things they never knew about bottled water, and it's hard to tell, but a lot of them actually seemed convinced and into the cause. I loved how the longer this went on the kids were getting more and more passionate about the subject. By the end of the day, we had collected 85 pledges from people to stop using plastic water bottles.

Everyone was really proud and excited about our accomplishments; but that's not what was going through our minds all day. We talked to some people who were really rude about the whole thing "Well, bottled water tastes better and I'm going to keep drinking it" or people who just refused to talk to us at all. The very first group that I talked to couldn't speak a word of English, and the next weren't at all interested, which was a very unsuccessful start. We didn't give up though, and we ended up converting a lot of people.

I was quite surprised that most of the tourists we talked to seemed more into it than the locals. We talked to people from Utah, France, Calgary and Switzerland and they were all blown away by the facts, and shocked with the number of bottles we found in the garbage; and then here are the locals, who this is affecting most saying "Yes, I know bottled water is horrible" while holding a bottle of Dasani in their hands. The most common answer I think I received that day was "Please, I'm just taking my dog for a walk, I don't want to be interrupted. I wish I would have said, "Please, this is your planet we're saving."


  1. It's these small scale grassroots projects that can really make a difference, like casting a pebble into a pond. Good for you!


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