Image credit: DCI
Anyone who watches WA$TED knows that I am continually beating the drum to encourage breaking free of the bottled water habit, which can save hundreds to thousands of dollars per year for a big family, not to mention the environmental impact it saves.
However, there is some concern about the quality of municipal water around the country. If you have concerns, I recommend that you do what I did: Have your water tested; it's inexpensive and you can find numerous places on the web to do this. I happen to have used Stevens Ecology.It turns out that my water is just fine, if a little "hard" tasting. I bought a water softener that attaches to the sink, which my husband loves to make fun of in our new book, but it does improve the taste. (A note: On the episode of WA$TED with the Evesham New Jersey Fire House l, I found that the firefighters were unable to tell the difference between tap and bottled water if it was chilled enough, so we installed a water cooler hooked right up to the municipal source. It's also a great idea for businesses—the amount of energy it uses is far preferable to individual bottled water.)
What else can each of us do to help keep the water supply safe in the U.S.? Here's something: properly dispose of old medications.
Of the 4 billion prescriptions written yearly, it is estimated that some 40 percent go unused. That's 200 million pounds of unused drugs! Not only is our drinking water at risk from improper disposal of medications, but there is also a risk of accidental poisoning of children and pets, as well as the risk of teen drug abuse from pain meds they get from mom and dad's medicine cabinet.
My friends at Keep America Beautiful (in particular John Kloster Pew of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful) alerted me to a great resource, where I now send people myself. It's called Dispose My Meds. Whatever state you are in, this resource can help you find a participating pharmacy where you can take medications for proper disposal—as opposed to flushing them or throwing them in
the trash. More than 800 community pharmacies in 40 states have signed on.
In other news, I am heading out on an eco-mission this summer, and I want to invite you to watch along as I create a series of webisodes about the impact of switching over to Energy Star appliances. Sears is sponsoring me to spotlight how I make the switch, and to tell some inspiring stories with eco-heroes in communities around the country.
Come with me and watch the webisodes at The Big Switch!