Recently I moved to Japan, and as with every time I travel abroad, I am amazed by all of the simple things I see other countries doing that we could be doing in the United States. What I’m going to talk about today is one of those things. The last two times I came to Japan I was somewhat ashamed to indulge myself with bottled water. For some reason, the bottled water here is just tremendously better (and softer) than anything I’d had in the US. Unfortunately, this meant I went through a lot of plastic bottles. Of course, every single one was recycled, but still, a lot of energy goes into recycling those bottles.
Unfortunately, the tap water here is particularly unpleasant, which makes drinking tap regularly a losing proposition for me. Luckily, however, I discovered a new system at the local grocery store. Here at the local store you have the option of purchasing either a 2 liter or 4 liter bottle that fits into a special “reverse osmosis” water purification machine. The bottles cost 3-6 dollars and can be refilled as many times as you like for free.
This means that for 6 dollars, you can get 4 liters of purified, delicious drinking water as many times as you want, any day of the week. For many, home water-purification systems fulfill this same function, but in my experience they are more expensive and take up much more room, even if there are more convenient. In Japan, where shopping at the grocery store is something of a daily habit, this system works out pretty well, and I think it would work out quite well in the US as well.
Photo: Стефан Симов (via flickr)