October, 2010 | Back2Tap

Our Community

After hearing that the Interfaith Food Pantry of Morris County wants to go green, Back2Tap decided to help out.  We donated reusable stainless steel water bottles and reusable cotton shopping bags.

According to Rosemary Gilmartin, Executive Director of the local pantry, “We go through thousands of paper and plastic bags every year and realize that using reusable bags is a better option from both a cost and environmental perspective. We have over 5,000 families coming to the pantry and we would like to be able to offer each family three bags”. 

Rosemary first got started with her reusable bag program by working with Susie Schub, founder and president of Jumpstart, a unique charitable giving program for schools and corporations, that recently held a canvas bag design contest.

Being green not only helps the environment but also allows places like the food pantry to better use their funds for food instead disposable plastic.

For more information on the Morris County Food Pantry, visit their site at www.mcifp.org or call 973-538-8049.

This week I got an email asking parents to donate food and bottled water for the high school marching band tailgate party at the state championships.  I jumped in and said no need for bottled water – I’ll bring tap water in coolers for everyone!   Back2Tap has one 5 gallon cooler, but I realized that would not be enough.   I was impressed to learn that the marching band has two of their own that I could borrow.   But then, my mellophone-playing son did the math.   If they were planning on 8 cases of bottled water for 100 people (nearly 2 per person), that’s 8 x 24 bottles /case x 17 oz/bottle or 3264 oz of water.   That’s 25 gallons!    Woops, better borrow another cooler in order to have at least have 20 gallons.   I figured that would be enough since people would be filling their cups with the exact amount they wanted, and there wouldn’t be any waste like with bottled water.   In fact, I expected there would be a lot leftover, but because we had a warm, 70 degree day in late October (notice the shorts!), we drank nearly all 20 gallons!  So if you want to reduce your use of disposable plastic at parties or on the road, I’d go with a conversion rate of one 5 gallon cooler of tap water to replace 2 cases of bottled water.  

In addition to reducing waste, we also saved money serving tap water out of coolers.   Including a bag of ice for each cooler and cups, I spent $22.   Eight cases of bottled water would have cost around $32.    I spurged and added gatorade mix ($8.00) to one of the 5 gallon coolers.  An equivalent number of individually packaged servings of gatorade would have cost around $52.  Using the mix was a huge savings – and they loved it!   Now, if only I could get everyone to recycle the cups!  

For more ideas about going bottle free, visit our Bottle Free Events page.

Most people probably don’t think about where their bottled water comes from, but if they knew they might not feel so good about it.  The two main sources – municipal supplies and springs are both problematic.

About 40% of bottled water is simply filtered tap water. That begs the questions: why pay so much for it and why drag huge cases of it home from the store when the same thing is readily available from your faucet?  It is much cheaper and more convenient to drink your own tap water even if you filter it.

While buying tap water in bottles may strike you as costly and inefficient, buying spring water may make you feel downright inconsiderate.  Picture huge tanker trucks rumbling through small towns 24-7 to keep bottling plants fed with spring water.  How about local residents finding lower water levels in their lakes, streams, or wells due to this over-pumping?  There is also an impact to local ecosystems when huge quantities of water are removed entirely from a watershed.

In light of these unappealing choices, a third option, filling reusable bottles with tap water looks like the easy and cost-effective solution to the bottled water enigma.

If you want to learn more about the problems with bottled water and about how to choose a reusable bottle, visit our Resources.