Ecological balance of lost water bottles

I feel bad about the number of water bottles I have donated to the flotsom I fancy ends up in the Saragasso Sea. I lost one off my deck last night. I circled around looking for it, but it’s a big river and in the dark I couldn’t find it. Luckily, there were a few bottles floating near my landing beach which I collected and headed to recycling, so on balance, the environment came out ahead, at least on that count.

I’ve had bottles swept off my deck by waves, lost them during capsizes in rapids, and left them behind on buses, etc. A long time ago I used bike bottles, but after loosing so many, in recent years I switched to disposable water bottles. When I buy water, I’m buying the bottle, not the water. I reuse them, over and over, though people often tell me it is going to give me cancer (“Everything Gives You Cancer”–Joe Jackson).

After working scores of river cleanups, I hate the bottled water industry. It is sort of a model of things wrong with our consumerism/industrial/economic model. So, I hate loosing water bottles, since it makes me part of the problem.

An obvious solution is for me to switch to hydration bladders. Not sure why, but they gross me out. What do you think, is it time for me to change, or should I just shrug it off?


ecological sensitivity takes an effort
I sort of feel the same way about hydration bladders. Plus I feel like the taste of the water is affected (even though it may be psychological on my part). I’m with you on disposable water bottle: you cannot beat the convenience. Yet I also think it’s a bad model. So I’ve forced myself to try to stick to an aluminum water bottle. I haven’t always been successful in sticking to it, but if nothing else it makes me pay attention to securing it better than a disposable bottle.

The other night I was listening to a radio feature that discussed packaging, and apparently the next innovation is edible food packaging. Lots of challenges there, but every bit helps.

So, how do we feel about plastic grocery bags? I don’t like them either, but they work great for dog poop and small trash bags.

Shrug it off Chip
As one who paddles the outer beaches of the Florida Keys and sees the trash and garbage , including piles a foot high at the high tide zone, rest assured that your loss is like a needle in a hay stack.

Most of this stuff is jettisoned at sea by all the people that claim they “would never do that”, and a lot comes from the tropical islands.

Then there is our local beautiful lake with it’s seventy miles of pristene shoreline and the Blue ridge mountains as it’s back drop.

In the spring winter and fall when school is in session, the sandy beaches are immaculate, but for some strange reason, once school is out and the vacation season is on and all the gazillion dollar ski boats, water skiiers, wake boarders and jet skies are zipping around those nice sandy beaches are littered to a disgrace.

Keep doing your thing as a small minority of others are, and it won’t help, but at least it will make you feel good

Jack L

a Walmart Supercenter at dawn. Take a good look.

Walmart is wall to wall gleaming oil based plastics.

If you take care of your plastic n pick up a bag of the bad guys plastics…

Another shrug it off
Bladders sound nice, but in summertime use when you suck on the tube you get the hot water that’s is in the clear tubing running from the bladder to the bite valve. It is a while before you get to the cooler water in the bladder. Then there is the cleaning issue to prevent mold growth.

You don’t lose that many water bottles and knowing you, you are collecting far more bottles than you are losing. Net gain for the planet.

Yeah I feel bad if I lose plastic
Despite averaging two river cleanups a year with a canoe load of pool noodles, punctured floats, lidless coolers, coolerless lids, and bags of bottles. Plus the odds and ends picked up from regular paddles. I can’t leave a sandbar without picking up something.

I have found two softballs this year. Who the hell takes a softball to the river?

I don’t mind the bladders but I worry about what gets on the mouthpiece while splashing downstream. They are for hiking.

On the water I use sports bottles carried in insulated pouches, refill them from canteens or Thermos brand QT jugs. I can’t use the aluminum bottles, that’s Alzheimer’s in a can. Sports bottles are all free; race swag, advertising, or Mardi Gras throws.

No saint though, I buy bottled water by the case for the lunchbox. 100peecent recycled though.

We collect bobbers. I haven’t bought one since I started paddling and have an original Americana Artwork Hanging Whatchamacallit on the front porch that’s up to 46 bobbers plus some worms and sinkers.

Does it make a dent? Maybe not, but my kids are all water rats and if they go out with 12 cans they’ll come back with 14.

Read an article the other day. All that fleece made from 6 percent recycled plastic? Fleece shreds microscopic plastic fibers like a collie sheds in summer. Working it’s way into the water systems and food supplies. Your body stores it. It would be better for the environment to just leave it on the beach.

Damned if you do…

water bottles
Kleen Kanteen metal bottles - a guy line tied to the boat keeps them inside or at least attached to your boat.

I use plastic bottles, frozen this time
I always bring back more bottles plus beer cans and put them in the recycle bin.

I was once told my boat looked like Fred Sanford’s junk yard at the end of a long paddle. My tankwell is a good junkwell.

Water bottles…

– Last Updated: Jun-24-16 9:26 PM EST –

I often carry extra bottles of water in a net trash bag that I carry;(for any trash I generate). The bag is tied into the canoe; nothing ends up in the river. After I drink the water out of a bottle; the bottle goes back in the trash bag.
I reuse larger plastic bottles on occasion.

When I speak of bottles, they are NOT glass.

I refuse to pick up trash left by "river dorks"; it's a loosing proposition as far as I'm concerned. The vast majority of them won't even carry a trash bag, much less use one.

Also I refuse to stop and help drunken river dorks get themselves out of the river, or get their canoes unjammed anymore. Also a losing proposition. I just smile & keep on paddling........


A second for the Kleen Kanteen
Stainless steel bottle that’s easy to clean.

easy to prevent loss
Don’t see why this is such a problem. In a lifetime of paddling ( i turned 66 last Sunday) I don’t recall having ever lost a water bottle. All the various containers I’ve used have had some sort of protrusion through which I could use a mini carabiner to secure them to the bow deck lines. If such an attachment point was not integral I used a neoprene bottle wrap with a d-ring affixed to webbing for the biner.

As to aluminum bottles being “Alzheimers in a can” the metal only leaches into acidic liquids and an anodized bottle does not leach at all.

As to the overall trash issue, I would like to see more legislation restricting disposable packaging, especially bottles. Disposable water bottles have become a worldwide headache, particularly in disaster zones when millions are brought in during relief efforts. I’ve toyed with designs for water containers that would make the empties usable, like Legos or the short-lived modular “brick” glass beer bottles , for constructing pannels for shelters or bedding. Many European countries have banned plastic shopping bags, placed recycling burdens on producers and have better dosposal and collection protocols than we have in mist US states. I lived for a while in Michigan and most bottles had a significant enough cash deposit value that picking up discarded ones to turn in was worthwhile for kids, the homeless and even retired people on fixed incomes. When a sack full of empties can easily bring enough profit to the gatherer to buy a hot meal or a modest bag of groceries, you see far fewer of them discarded in the landscape for long.

I’ve found some nice lures also
I have no idea what to use them for but they look cool on a hat.

Do they split if left in car in winter?
My expensive aluminum bottles did - even if less than half full.

Now I only leave re-used flexible water bottles in the car in the winter - never had one split when frozen.

Lost ones aren’t really the problem
causing litter. We’re talking about when you flip your boat and have a yard sale and if that’s your type of paddling you don’t want to be surrounded by 10 snares tied to your boat. If you see a flotilla of 30 bottles and cans hung up in a strainer they weren’t lost.

I do have to admit how impressed I was one trip near Anaheim. Disposable bags were illegal. Stores had to use paper bags and most of them got around that with “we’re out”. If you didn’t want to buy a bag every time you went you had to get in the habit of bringing one. All the curbs the people were sleeping and defalcating on were impressively trash free.

In the many years I’ve used the Kleen
Kanteen it hasn’t split when left in my car during winter. However, it was always inside a cooler which may have saved it. I suspect if it was full and left for hours in below-freezing conditions the plastic cap would probably crack and dislodge before the stainless steel bottle would split. It’s got a few dents but has carried my water well to date.

Lost ball river
A small river in SC I enjoy paddling has almost no development or boaters on it for its entire length, but has lots of junk trapped in sweepers if it hasn’t flooded in a while. Its head waters is a large city. Most of the trash comes from ditches and drains that eventually ends up in a creek or river. When it rains hard a sheet of water forms on the ground and balls etc just begin to float down hill. The numbers and types of balls I find in this river are impressive, and coolers also. These are not there because of fishing or water recreation, but rather left in back yards or thrown into ditches.

I don’t like disposable plastic, and like many here often come back with more trash than I created. To blame others when we use the same stuff is part of the problem as it absolves us of any responsibility for its use. I am for regulations to reduce the use of disposable plastics. Which would not reduce the number of balls floating in this river, but would the amazingly ubiquitous amount of plastic disposable bottles found everywhere!