Reduce plastic! Recycle! Save the turtles! These lovely sentiments have taken the forefront of modern American values. Especially with younger generations, finding a way to live a life that is sustainable has become an important aspect of one’s identity. To achieve this goal, reusable water bottles, specifically Hydro Flasks, have risen in popularity. These luxury bottles are the symbol of environmental consciousness in the modern era. Yet the poster child for the eco-friendly movement has become intertwined with a materialistic and elitist culture.
The rising prevalence of reusable water bottles is a great indicator of America’s growing emphasis on environmental sustainability. It is incredible that so many young people are seen with a thermos in hand as opposed to a one-use plastic bottle. But similar to the path of many trends in the United States, the reusable container movement is becoming plagued by American’s inherent desire to flaunt wealth and assert the disparities between economic classes.
Hydro Flask has emerged as one of the most prominent brands associated with being eco-friendly. The company is known for bottles that are stainless steel and packed with undeniably good insulation. The thermoses have gained popularity thanks to social media apps such as VSCO and Instagram. With a variety of unique colors and sizes coupled with their unique logo, HydroFlasks have become a central focus of many photos, memes, and must-haves.
While they offer a range of qualities that make them highly desirable products, they also run for sky high prices. One of the most popular sizes, the 32 ounce wide mouth bottle, costs approximately $40, a price that many individuals are unable to afford.
Yes, Hydro Flasks are admittedly a well-made product, leading to higher prices. But the pressure to carry one is singling out those who are unable to make this hefty purchase. These designer bottles are contributing to a culture that emphasizes materialistic wealth. Some act as if the Hydro Flask is the only appropriate method in which to live a life more sustainably, creating a false feeling of obligation to invest in one of these multi-colored thermoses.
Many work to be as environmentally-conscious as possible, yet eco-friendliness has become buried by flawed values of wealth and status.
But protecting the earth is a responsibility shared by society in its entirety. Every contribution matters, every bottle saved makes a difference. Because of this, the environmental movement should stop placing such a large emphasis on the Hydro Flask in particular. Holding one of these designer bottles is causing an artificial sense of superiority, causing a well-meaning brand to become a toxic reminder of economic disparity.
Regardless of the bottle brand one carries, an individual is still contributing to the environmental movement. The Hydro Flask should not be a method in which to flash one’s wealth, instead it should be the vehicle in which a person can act with consideration for the environment. It is of the upmost importance to help cleanse the eco-friendly movement of society’s materialistic culture. Jayden Hawley (12) is one of many who acknowledge that “reusable water bottles should have less to do with the status they bring, and more to do with the turtles they save.”