I toted a reusable water bottle around with me in Washington whenever I planned to be away from the apartment for more than a few hours, whether I was headed to work, the gym or a date with my girlfriends. I was probably one of the more devout water-bottle carriers, but I certainly wasn’t alone: If you walked through the press gallery in the U.S. Capitol on any given day, you would see rows of reporters’ laptops, notepads and, without fail, reusable bottles and mugs.
That seems to be more of an American thing than I realized. I brought my favorite insulated Klean Kanteen with me to Geneva and I throw it into my backpack before I walk to French class every morning. But out of a dozen students from 10 different countries, I’m the only one who brings a reusable bottle. While many of the others drink water in class, they always have disposable bottles of Evian or some other local brand.
For a while I thought this was crazy – those bottles can cost 5 CHF a pop in Geneva – and my vision of an environmentally-counscious Europe was somewhat shattered (we can talk about all the plastic-wrapped fruit another day). I brought it up with my husband over dinner one night and he said he had noticed the same thing: Many of the people in his office carry around disposable bottles. But, in a twist, he said they don’t usually throw them away, and instead continually refill them!
Okay, so a little more economical, and yeah, upon further inspection several of the students in my class seem to come in with the same disposable bottle each day. But that just makes me wonder even more why, from what we’ve seen so far, the reusable water bottle hasn’t made it into the Geneva mainstream. Maybe, just maybe, I can start the trend…