While traveling, I bring my stainless steel travel mug or water bottle with me for everything from water to soda to coffee. On the cross country trip with my dad, I ended up with some plastic, but none of it was plastic bottles or cups. In 7-Elevens and mini marts across the country, I brought my reusable mug and asked if I could fill it up with coffee or water or soda. Not one person refused. And sometimes, if they were available, I’d fill up from free water fountains.
At the airport, you can bring your mug or water bottle through security empty and fill it at the water fountain on the other side. I make this suggestion regularly when asked about staying hydrated on planes. But lately, I’ve been getting questions about whether or not water fountains are safe to drink from. Elizabeth Royte, author of the excellent book, Bottlemania,which I highly recommend, wants to know what you think on the issue. On the web site, Adventures in Climate Change, she asks if you’d drink from a public fountain. And she also describes a new experimental initiative in New York City to add more public water fountains.
It’s an important question. How can we support our public water infrastructure if we are not willing to drink from public sources? When I was a kid, bottled water didn’t exist. Everyone drank from fountains. Now? Not so much. So please answer the question and leave a comment with your thoughts — either on this site or on Royte’s article. We both want to know what you think.