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Reuse and Recycle – Friends of Frugal Living

water bottles

By: Clair Schwan

When I think about the reuse and recycle concept, I think about how it minimizes waste and supports multiple applications for a particular item. I also think about how this kind of mindset is a friend of frugal living. So, while being energy and environmentally conservative, it’s also financially conservative. It’s that type of multi-benefit behavior that I think needs to be on our list of life’s best practices.

Up there at the top of my list of best practices is bottled water. It’s a perfect example of reuse and recycle that’s in harmony with my focus on frugal living.

I’ve never quite understood the attraction to bottled water, especially the kind that one might purchase at a convenience store. It’s pricey to say the least. On a per gallon basis, it has never been less than the cost of gasoline, and it’s not difficult to find water that is the equivalent to $11 to $18 per gallon. And we’re complaining about $4 a gallon for gas?

Lots of water bottles

Bottled water can be a more frugal and enironmentally friendly purchase if we refill the bottles from our own sources of water, and then recycle when the container is no longer useful.

In addition to its exorbitant price, bottled water is often just that, water that has been bottled. Look closely on the side of the bottle and you’ll see that it often comes from wells and municipal water sources. What used to be spring water is quite often just plain tap water dressed up to look more appealing.

And, that brings me to my point about how we might exercise a little reuse and recycle technique that is also complimentary with our interests in making the most out of our hard-earned dollar. Can’t we simply rinse out and refill the bottles with our own tap water?

Of course, my question is rhetorical in nature. There isn’t anything stopping us at all.


And, after we’ve battered around the bottled water container, or perhaps misplaced the cap, we can simply recycle them. It seems like a great thing to do. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s reasonably convenient. For those of us with well water, we probably can’t find better water anywhere else.

So, what’s stopping us from applying reuse and recycle to that bottle of water we’re carrying around? Nothing as far as I can see.


Clair Schwan is the managing editor over at where he and his team of writers discuss energy conservation, reusing and recycling everyday items, homemade cleaning products, renewable energy, organic gardening and all things self-reliant.

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