Everyone knows plastic bottles and paper cups are bad, but that doesn’t make eradicating them from your daily life easy. Whether buying water at the gym or picking up a morning coffee, urban life feels almost impossible to navigate without damaging the planet long-term. If only there were *gasp* some kind of solution…
Environmental campaigners have been urging people to invest in a reusable bottle for ages. We produce more waste than the planet can handle, so buying one is an easy, almost too-logical way to do your bit to help put a stop to that. For context, Americans purchase about 50 billion plastic water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for everyone in the US. So by using a reusable bottle, you as an individual could save an average 156 plastic bottles annually.
To dole out a much-bastardized word, a reusable water bottle is the sustainable choice.
But if saving the world isn’t enough incentive to start using a reusable bottle, perhaps you’ll be swayed by the fact they’re now — wait for it, fans of late capitalism — a bona fide fashion accessory! Environmentalists have been championing the cause for years, but now reusable bottles are also cool.
Exhibit A is Jonah Hill, who has been seen skulking around his SoHo neighborhood clutching the absolute unit that is the 64-ounce, half-gallon Hydro Flask, which he has customized with stickers as if it were a skate deck or MacBook. Given his relationship with Allbirds-wearing climate champ Leonardo DiCaprio, Hill is no doubt aware by now that global warming is slowly obliterating the planet (I am writing this article in 104 degrees Fahrenheit heat in Berlin, FFS), but he also knows that the bottle adds a certain je ne sai quoi to his I-just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-still-look-cool-as-fuck aesthetic. It’s a flex, perhaps even a meta-flex, a knowing nod to his status as an unlikely style icon, able to transform even the most prosaic item into something desirable.
Like Hill, Shia LaBeouf is a fashion wildcard. The original fashion wildcard, in fact. LaBeouf knows a thing or two about vintage tees and Nike kicks that are long out of production, but he also understands the importance of staying hydrated at all times. After all, this is a guy who would literally lug around a gallon bottle like a ’90s skate kid, no questions asked. Keeping with the times, LaBeouf has now moved on to a Hydro Flask that’s almost as big as Hill’s. You love to see it!
Reusable bottles don’t begin and end with Hydro Flasks, however, with plenty of brands coming through with some sweet designs of their own. PHIPPS’ YEEZY-friendly canteen in collaboration with Klean Kanteen is one of its biggest sellers, while Online Ceramics’ Nalgene bottle has proved so popular that the label has started printing its design on T-shirts.
The Nalgene, unfortunately, is still made of plastic, but there are other, greener options out there. For example, Virgil Abloh’s first design in his role as creative advisor for sustainable design at Evian was a bottle composed of glass and silicone with a bamboo cap.
It’s understandable that some might balk at the idea of reusable bottles being reduced to some kind of style prop. The notion is ridiculous bordering on Kafkaesque. Forgoing single-use plastic should be an obvious choice, cool or not. But people are nothing if not impressionable, and in our celebrity-obsessed culture, sometimes it takes a nudge from someone famous to kick-start a movement.
Speaking to The Guardian, Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, a UK nonprofit that campaigns to prevent marine plastic pollution at source, said, “The idea of reusable bottles being a fashion accessory is a good thing. If you want people to adopt a new behavior, if you want to create mass change, it helps to have influential people on board.”
So, for your next cop, swerve the jawnz and instead invest in a water bottle.