SHift of Habits

By February 26, 2015Sustainability
Earth Day 2015

From my experience with western lifestyle, maybe the old cowboy way was the most green of all when it comes to reusable water containers.  They have knowledge from experience that your livelihood is directly connected to how you treat the land.  They seem to prefer a cup, mason jar, canteen, drinking from the hose, or a reusable container of some type filled up with the water on tap.

On the other hand, most individuals out of habit and convenience would rather purchase bottled water than take the time to fill up a reusable container.  We read that the disposable water bottles are an ongoing environmental concern but what daily action are we actively taking to change our habit? Possibly with more awareness, the SHift will begin as we did at SH Architecture.

A simple way an organization and individual can demonstrate their commitment to the environment is the use of refillable / reusable bottles in lieu of disposable water bottles.  We have found a branding / marketing benefit along with cost savings in our office.  Upon offering water to our office guests, they now will receive an SH refillable container to take with them.  Each team member is also supplied an SH bottle for their use.  From the past trend of bottled water expense, we cost effectively purchased an estimated year supply of bottles with our logo.

If you choose to stay with disposable bottled water, by all means please remember to continue to recycle. The following are insights that may be helpful in your transition if you just haven’t disciplined yourself to a habit of reuse instead of recycle when it comes to bottled water.  I am certainly guilty of using convenience to justify my habit of bottled water in the past. One can only go forward to make the next day better than the one before.

One concern of refillable bottles is they develop bacteria and mold build-up if they’re not cleaned properly between uses.   The solution is to give your refillable bottle a proper cleaning, just as you would your other drinking glasses.

To clean refillable water bottles, do one of the following:

  • Wash in the dishwasher in the top rack away from the heating element.
  • Soak in hot, soapy water.
  • Soak in hot water with baking soda.
  • Soak in hot water with lemon.

Try these steps to prevent bacteria or mold build-up (black spots) mostly found on the seals on the lids of refillable bottles:

  • Air dry bottles completely after washing
  • Store bottles in the freezer immediately after washing to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold (I like this one for the upcoming hot summer months)
  • Sterilize an old toothbrush by running it through the dishwasher or boiling in clean water for five minutes. Put a little baking soda on the bristles and scrub the seals. The bristles will get into the crevices of the rubber seals which often don’t dry well. Afterward, rinse thoroughly and run the bottle, lid and toothbrush through a hot dishwasher cycle or boil for five minutes.

Let us know if your SHift in Habits changed.  The SH team is proud that they did.

Eric Roberts

About Eric Roberts

Eric Roberts is Vice President at SH Architecture and specializes on Government, Higher Education and Rural-based Client segments. Eric is an expert in sustainable design and navigating sustainable programs such as LEED, GreenGlobes, and local and federal tax incentives for sustainability. Eric is an avid sketcher frequently sharing his work on our blog and promoting Urban Sketchers throughout Nevada. He also serves on the Western Mountain Region Executive Board for the American Institute of Architects.

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