Nick Pimentel, senior

I care about the environment, I guess. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, behind the thoughts of the girl with the large bottom in first period, the girl with the nice eyes in fourth period and the girl I don’t have a chance with in sixth period is a fiery passion for protecting Mother Earth. Of course I do the standard, little things, to diminish my footprint, for example: I sew my own clothing, I don’t ride in cars, I cook my meals over a log fire and I don’t use plumbing. But even still, sometimes I feel this just isn’t enough. I know that taking care of the earth is easy, but I’m obviously missing some crucial piece to the puzzle. This feeling of emptiness might be because I have yet to pick up on the most popular and stylish way to save the planet today. Of course, I’m referring to the reusable water bottles that everybody sports in lieu of a daily Aquafina or Evian plastic bottle.

            Reusable water bottles such as the ones made by Nalgene or Sigg are a godsend to a eclectic mix of people for a variety of reasons. For the pretentious bunch, not only are they a fashion statement with the multiplicity of designs and colors provided, but they scream, “Hey, it doesn’t matter that I take 30-minute showers. I own a reusable water bottle.” For the hipsters, they are an ideal goblet for sipping Yerba Mate or Tazo tea. The stoners can even fashion a half-decent bong out of them. Though these versatile creations are generally very good, I – of course – still have quibbles.

            My concern is not with the bottles themselves, but with the people who use them. It seems that more emphasis is put on the fashion statement that the bottles make and less on the real intent – to be less wasteful. As a result, once the pretty design on the outside is scratched, the owner tends to forsake the young hydrating companion for a new fresh one. The point of the water bottles is to last for years so that we don’t waste plastic and engorge land fills. The point of having a Nalgene or Sigg water bottle in the first place is lost if a new one is bought to replace the old every few months. With such behavior, reusable water bottles are gentle on neither the environment nor the pocketbook.

            One Nalgene user, who requested to remain anonymous because she is embarrassed by her behavior, confessed, “Reusable water bottles are now the cool thing to have, but if mine gets too scratched up, then I replace it.” This person estimates she went through almost thirteen water bottles last year.

        “I have about five different colors and designs that I rotate daily to match outfits and moods,” said another user.

            It seems to me that it is not the conservation of the environment that is these peoples’ main concern, but rather the image that it evokes. So, even though I don’t really care about the environment, I can’t help but be bothered by this wasteful and hypocritical behavior. I support the use of reusable water bottles, just as long as they are actually reused and not trashed once they’ve grown a tad obsolete.