Clean, safe drinking water is an absolute essential, so I have been wondering how to get it at Frugaldom when we are entirely off the grid, off the mains and off the idea of spending thousands of pounds drilling a well, installing pipes or fiddling with filters.

The sad truth is that the easiest and probably most economical way is to buy pre-filtered, bottled water!

To this day, some areas in less 'developed' countries struggle to access life-sustaining supplies of clean, fresh water. Alongside this, we are lectured on the dangers of our oceans being polluted with plastics and warned, almost on a daily basis, to quit using the stuff and find alternatives.

We now have a 5p tax on 'use once' bags to deter their use! We used to be able to use these several times, but I noticed they are now a fraction of the strength they were pre-5p tax, meaning they could degrade quicker. They certainly tear easier! That's why we have been using homemade fabric shopping bags or baskets for so long.

Despite all of this, here we are in 21st Century Britain, supposedly more eco-friendly and environmentally aware than ever before, and we can buy 2 litres of drinking water in a plastic bottle for as little as 17p - yes, that's right, only seventeen pence! Why? Possibly because it's ordinary water being sold in bottles made from the easiest solution to recycling some of the waste from the petro-chemicals industry.

Let's say an active adult needs 3 litres of fluids every day, that's 21 litres per week, rounded up to, say, 24 to allow for extras, like brushing teeth. That's £2.04 per adult for a full week's worth of life-sustaining, clean, safe water ... plus 12 empty bottles EVERY WEEK! These bottles need to be recycled or reused, but you can't return them to the store from which you bought them. More often than not, you probably 'donate' them to the local council, by way of dropping them into a bin, but they continue to be washed up on our shores and litter our countryside and roadsides. Why? Ignorant and uncaring humans, that's why!

Some may get used in DIY projects - the odd space rocket, plant holder or mini cloche - or perhaps you may even save them to build yourself a plastic 'shelter' of some description - greenhouses are popular. How you choose to dispose of these plastic bottles is up to you but the fact remains that for 17p, you can get 2 litres of drinking water AND a plastic bottle. Something is to be very wrong with the system. Or is it perhaps simply ingenious?

I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know how many items you can make from a single two-litre plastic bottle. We'll call it a frugal challenge, as you may need to spend 17p next time you are passing a supermarket and then lug the bottle home with you, but perhaps you could make something salable from it as part of our frugaleur challenge.

Necessity is the mother of invention!

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