Each year, WildChina plans and leads journeys for thousands of clients from all over the world. And with these clients, comes lots and lots of used plastic water bottles– which doesn’t make us, as committed members to sustainable travel in China, very happy.
However, as China has no potable drinking water– even in the big international cities like Shanghai or Hong Kong– we have been left with limited options.
You might say, well, “Why don’t you provide each WildChina guest a re-usable water bottle?” In theory, we couldn’t agree more. WildChina would love to purchase BPA-free water bottles for our clients to use both on trip and at home. However, since our guests cannot re-fill their water bottles back at the hotel or at a restaurant, we are uncertain that investing in water bottles is a good investment.
One model that WildChina Founder Mei Zhang liked was discovered at a recent holiday to Soneva Kiri Six Senses in Thailand. At this resort, elegant glass bottles can be picked up and dropped off at many locations throughout the property. We think this is a great idea and the bottles look classic and high-end
However, if traveling with young children or on a Huanghuacheng hike, we are not convinced that this is the most appropriate solution.
We have a few more ideas up our sleeves, but would love to turn this conversation over to you. What are your thoughts?
Have any ideas? We are all ears. Drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us your suggestion.
Photos by: Sustainable Water, Paul Moreno, Nalgene, Zhang Mei at Soneva Kiri
For years I traveled with a simple water filter…. a cup with a built-in charcoal filter that took care of almost everything including giardia. Since I travelled in many remote areas, potable water was rarely available. I even filtered bottled water when I could getit since I was unsure of its quality. This technique was very successful through the years. Unfortunately that particular water filter is no longer available but something similar would address your problem. (I used mine in remote areas of China and also in Hong Kong)
Find the very best portable water purification systems and invest in some to have along on your journeys or at strategic points of destination. Use your own bottles and refill so that guests have a supply of one bottle per day. They can drink other beverages for the rest of their needs.
As a tour operator in Bhutan, we are also grappling with a similar challenge. When we started out a few years back, we wanted to be as eco-conscious as possible. Used water bottles have now become a part of our burgeoning waste problem in the country, a country that doesn’t even have a recycling plant. The irony is we do not generate enough trash to sustain one.
All along we knew using bottled water was not the way to go, but we desperately needed a viable substitute to do away with it.
We have been encouraging our clients to bring their own re-usable bottles and Steripen. While some get the idea, many decide to stick to bottled water.
We are also planning on having our vehicles fitted with water filter canisters (holding 15-20 litres of water), which are capable of trapping sediments. To rid of any micro-organisms, water will be boiled and cooled overnight at hotels, ready to be transferred to the canisters.
Given that water in Bhutan is free of heavy metals, this process should be adequate. However, we do know there will still be some people who might be uncomfortable and would want to stick to manufactured water.
What’s comforting though, is some people do take their own initiative to bring water bottles with purifiers, which is practical and works great.
Any suggestion would be great. Thanks!