When my building was evacuated due to DC’s earthquake last year, I was smart enough to grab my purse before walking out the door. When we were told that the building was closed and that we could go home, I was glad to have everything with me. On my walk to the Metro I became a little apprehensive about what my commute would have in store for me. And, my water bottle was almost empty. So I stopped at Potbelly to use the restroom and refill my bottle. I figured I’d better be prepared.

Even though I buy lunch there often, and this was an emergency situation, I felt a little guilty about taking water from the soda fountain without purchasing anything. Silly? Probably. But, you know, I’m one of those rule-follower-types.

A week or two later I was in line at the same Potbelly for lunch and noticed a flyer indicating that the store is a partner in TapIt. Upon closer inspection, I learned that TapIt is a network of stores and cafe owners who agree to provide free tap water to folks who carry a reusable water bottle. Hooray! I had felt guilty for nothing!

I’m so excited to know about this program! As a family we take our water bottles everywhere. Yes, I’m the person who takes an empty water bottle through airport security so I can fill it at a water fountain at the gate. But too often, especially on long excursions, we drink all our water. And so I always keep my eye out for water fountains to re-fill my bottles. If there’s no water fountain in sight, we end up having to buy bottled water, totally defeating the purpose of taking our own water bottles!!

Now that I know about TapIt, have checked out their interactive map, downloaded their free iPhone app and found out that there are nearly 200 participating locations in DC, I feel even better about taking our reusable water bottles on day-trips into the city. And I’m excited that I’ll pay for water — and waste plastic — much less often!

Aimee does her best to be green and loves sharing tips with others. She received no compensation for this post and honest-to-goodness is psyched to have noticed that flyer. You can read more about Aimee and her crazy boys at Smiling Mama and about family-friendly activities for getting out and about in Prince George’s County, MD, at Out by Ten.