Hi there! Today I’m going to get a bit real with you all about something that drives me absolutely crazy…Disposable plastic water bottles! Did you know that, “According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86% of disposable water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter, adding 38 billion disposable water bottles in U.S. landfills?” That’s INSANE. And totally preventable! And, here on St. John, or in the Virgin Islands in general, there is NO plastic recycling so it is actually 100% of those disposable bottles that end up in our one landfill on St. Thomas or on the beaches, trails or…worse, in the water! But, this problem is something that we can all do a little bit about in order to cut down on this waste and litter on our beautiful island…Oh, and you’ll save a bundle of cash as well!
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated on island. The warmer temperatures blended with a heavy amount of sweet rum drinks requires upping your H2O intake! And, let’s face it, grabbing a case of 16 ounce bottles is the easiest way to go. BUT, don’t do it! There are other options and ways around this that can keep our streets, beaches and waters a bit cleaner AND save you some money.
First, let’s talk cash. A case of 16 ounce bottles of water at Starfish Market costs $8.99. At 16 ounces per bottle, a case of these equates to three gallons. Or, you could opt for six, one-gallon jugs at the store for $15 ($2.50 each). So, even at the start of this little venture into saving plastic and some cash, you are already on top by three bucks. (six gallons for $15 versus two cases for $18…Got it?)
So, you run through that water…now what? Well, luck for you there are several refill stations on island that allow you to refill these six, one-gallon jugs for fifty cents to one dollar per gallon! Oh, and if your condo or villa has a water cooler with the five gallon jugs, you can refill those as well at any of these locations:
- Kilroy’s/Provisions Parking Lot (Across from the ACC)– There is a self-service water station that runs 24 hours a day. One gallon jugs cost sixty cents to fill. Bring small bills with you for the machine!
- Santos Laundromat (Between Starfish Market and Provisions on the left)- Mask up and use your manners (Good Morning! Good Afternoon!) when you head into the laundromat and up to the counter. Let the nice lady there know how many gallons you would like to fill at fifty cents per gallon and she will take your cash up front and give you a key to go around to the corridor on the right side of the building where you will find a water filling station.
- New Business Alert! Love City Ice (Located in the back of the Lumberyard parking lot)– It’s one dollar per gallon to use the self-service fill station. Bring cash to pay. The water here is triple filtered and tastes absolutely delicious. And it is a convenient stop right in town with plenty of parking.
Oh, and if you need ice as well, this is a one stop shop!
Prior to Hurricane Irma, St. John Ice filled this necessary void. I stopped by there weekly to fill the five gallon jugs for my home and to grab ice on the way to the beach. When the Lumberyard finally closed out the parking lot for demolition, St. John Ice, who provided the community with ice and drinking water in the immediate aftermath of the storms while operating at a loss via generator power, was forced out. The owner, Alan Johnson, continues today to serve the community with ice distribution but has not re-established in a brick and mortar establishment for refilling water.
The laundromats, over the past few years, and this new establishment have filled this void and made it possible to refill our water while saving the planet and saving a buck!
Ok, so, let’s do some math here. If you and your family burn through, let’s say four cases (12 gallons) of water over the course of your stay, the cost on that is $36. If you buy six gallons for $15 and then refill them, at max that is $21. Not a HUGE deal, but that definitely covers a few extra Painkillers at Happy Hour! Additionally, you are creating six single gallon jugs of waste that will likely not find themselves left behind on beaches, trails or overlooks.
Oh, and speaking of Happy Hour, when you are out and about and keeping yourself hydrated, opt for the tap water and ask for it in a glass or reusable cup of some sort. The tap water in the city limits (Cruz Bay) is all perfectly safe and we drink it all the time! If the establishment you are visiting only has disposable plastic cups, ask them kindly if they wouldn’t mind refilling your reusable water bottle. Because, by now, you’re probably thinking, “Is she crazy? Does she want me to just walk around town with a gallon jug of water?” HA!
No, of course not! Bring a reusable insulated bottle from home. Or, better yet, treat yourself to a souvenir cup or water bottle from one of your favorite local establishments!
Now, the absolute BEST and cost effective way to keep your water intake up is to stay in a villa or hotel that has some type of filtration system for the tap water. When on island, you should always check with with your accommodations manager about whether or not the tap water is safe to drink. If it is, you can refill those gallon jugs right at home, for free.
A vast majority of the vacation homes on island operate with a cistern for their water supply but many of them, you will find, have installed a water treatment system, making the water safe to drink. Put this item on your list when you are looking at lodging options for your next trip!
If you own a home or villa on island and are interested in applying a filtration system to your drinking water for your guests (and yourself) to enjoy, check out St. John Water Worx, located on the first floor of the Marketplace. They offer a range of “residential water treatment systems” for at home use and installation.