Drinking water during a journey – my experience

Just now I returned from sun, sea and rocks: I would have loved to stay longer in the south of France. My experience refers to this region (Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur). The use of the UV-sterilizer was successful: I could circumvent the shelves in the picture below.

Wasserregale outcut.jpg

Adieu pour tojours! – Farewell!

However I want to mention a few points here. Firstly: UV water sterilization is safe. I didn’t get ill this summer and I will use the sterilizer also on further trips.

Sometimes I even drank some water without the treatment just to try: Nothing happened. Maybe in this holiday it would have also been possible just to drink the water without sterilization. South France is not a region with dangerous tap water. It really depends on the region you are in and on your personal condition: I can’t recommend drinking untreated tap water to everybody in every situation.

  1. Be aware of chlorine in tap water
Wasser gls

You don’t see the chlorine, but you smell and taste it

The water in my holiday destination tastes directly out of the tap of chlorine. The treatment with an UV-sterilizer can’t change that.

To solve this problem I left the water in decanter (open on the top) over night or at least for a few hours. Afterwards I treated it. Then it was drinkable.

When I cooked water in Greece I couldn’t remove the strange taste of chlorine with this.

A mechanical filter with activated coal can remove chlorine better[1].

2.Take enough bottles of drinking water with you when there is chlorine in the water

When you use an UV-sterilizer it is not that easy to fill up the bottles on route. To remove the chlorine you should leave the water for some hours as I wrote in 1.

I took enough bottles with me (at least 2 litres depending on your activity). Or use a mechanical filter with activated coal.

  1. Bottle deposit – c’est quoi?

I admit it – at home I buy very rarely a glass bottle of sparkling water, because I like the taste and use it for cocktails. However I reduced my use of this water strongly, a few years ago I always drank it. I felt like I couldn’t satisfy my thirst with tap water.

In Austria and Germany, that doesn’t seem to be an environmental problem: When you need sparkling water, you just buy glass bottles. You can give them back, they are reused (without melting them before) and you get some money for them – that’s bottle deposit.

Bottle deposit – in South France you can find that only in your dictionary. In the shops in my destination you can’t find a single returnable glass bottle with sparkling water! In the restaurants, you can order glass bottles – for the tremendous price of 5,50€ per litre. Apart from that you are a lucky finder if you see alcoholic beverages, fruit juice and fruit nectar in the glass bottle. However, they aren’t returnable and so they cause immense energy expenditure. Throw-away glas bottles always have to be molten again and brought in a new shape before it is reused. Moreover, the waste separation is also different from my home: Waste isn’t separated everywhere and it isn’t regulated as strict as in Austria or Germany.


left: german label for bottle deposit                                                                                                           right: in France you only find the instruction to recycle the bottles, there is no bottle deposit

The bottle deposit system is a wise establishment, which unfortunately isn’t used yet in the most Mediterranean Countries. Thus I recommend: Use reusable bottles economical – everywhere. They also have to be transported in the store, at your home, back to the store and back to the company, where they are cleaned, refilled and pasted with new labels. That’s a big expenditure. You can diminish the impact on the environment with the use of tap water.

So what shall you do during your holidays? Avoid sparkling water and other beverage in non-returnable bottles. If you really need something, choose glass bottles and reuse them at home. I use them e.g. as a water carafe on the table or to store homemade syrup. Furthermore I buy bulk vinegar and oil with it.

  1. Think of waste reduction also when drinking in the restaurant

In Austria I only get them at takeaways and McDonalds, in the holiday destination they were even served in restaurants: Plastic bottles or beverage cans. Because of that I usually don’t order any beverage in my holidays when eating out (except for wine). If I really want something, I ask how they serve the beverage or look at the tables next to me. What do the people drink and how is it served? How can I avoid background waste with my choice?

The waiters usually never give you tap water. I also avoid sparkling water even if it’s in glass bottles because of the horrific price of 5,50€ and more per litre.  I feel this in the bill at the end, which is smaller (2-7€ per person depending on your beverage).

So far these were my experiences from this journey. If you absorb them and further develop them for yourself, you can save even more money and waste.

This leads to a WIN-WIN situation: You save money and you spare the environment resources and pollution.

These advantages are for everybody – except for the water and beverage enterprises. You want to know more about them? My next article follows J

Tell me your experience with a water sterilizer respectively with the water supply during your journey! I look forward to your comment!

[1] http://sciencing.com/remove-chlorine-from-water-4516999.html

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