This morning I found a bottled water cost calculator on the New American Dream website. It enables you to calculate how much money you waste buying bottled water in a year. It's very simple to use. First, you input the number of 16oz bottles of water you drink in a year, then the price of your tap water per gallon, and finally your average bottled water cost. If you don't know your tap water cost, it's safe to assume it's around $0.002/gallon.
The results are startling! If you drink one bottle of water per day and pay $1.50 for it each time, you are spending an extra $550 on water! Even if you buy your bottled water very cheaply most of the time, you will still be wasting over $150 each year. The $10-15 investment in a high quality stainless water bottle seems like a bargain by comparison!
On top of the cost savings you will achieve by using a refillable bottle, there are obvious environmental benefits as well. The calculator also estimates the impact of your bottled water habit on the planet. For the one-bottle-a-day person, an extra 114 gallons of water, 37 megajoules of energy, and 9 gallons of oil will be wasted as well as 68 pounds of CO2 generated.
If you'd like to reduce your impact and fatten your wallet, check out Back2Tap for your best value in high quality stainless steel water bottles.
Bottled water has become so deeply entrenched in our society that some people can’t even imagine how to provide water at an event without it. Say what? Maybe I’m going to show my age here, but I actually remember living a good hydrated life, attending events, and even hosting events before anyone had thought of putting tap water in a disposable plastic bottle and charging 1000 times more for it! Based on my experience BBW (before bottled water), I have come up with some ABCs for getting by without bottled water at your school with ease:
- water cooler
Access to tap water
Provide access to drinking water throughout the school by maintaining water fountains and cleaning them daily. Better yet, upgrade to bottle-less water coolers in the cafeteria and in hallways and install a water filter on the tap in the teachers’ lounge. Offering chilled filtered tap water will allay concerns about the spreading of germs at the water fountains, taste of tap water, and water quality.
- Custom water bottles
Bottles that are reusable
Request that students, teachers, parents, and other visitors to the school bring their own reusable bottles or mugs to school each day and to all special events. Consider having a reusable bottle fundraiser or simply issuing school water bottles to every student. Custom stainless steel water bottles with the school logo are a big hit with students. Monies raised can be used to fund water coolers!
Containers for serving
Pitchers filled from the faucet or from water coolers can be used to serve tap water to students in their class rooms. Large portable coolers filled with the help of a pitcher can be used to dispense tap water at large gatherings. For those who forget their reusable bottles, it is important to have some biodegradable disposable cups on hand and a recycling bin to collect them.
- Portable cooler
Bottle free bliss
All in all, becoming a bottle free school is not as daunting as it sounds. Life was good BBW! Putting the ABCs in place is easier and cheaper than you’d expect. The key to getting cooperation from the entire community will be establishing and communicating a school-wide bottled water policy and letting everyone know you’ve got the ABCs covered.
You’ll be glad you did because eliminating bottled water at your school will simplify planning and clean up for events, reduce the volume of waste, save parents money, model a sustainable lifestyle for students, as well as reap significant environmental benefits for everyone.
Reusable metal water bottles are popping up for sale all over the place these days. At the Go Green Festival in New York City last April, I spotted a stainless steel bottle for $27. At local grocery stores, I’ve seen metal bottles for just $10. Custom logoed bottles can cost anywhere between $3.00 and $13.00. So what’s the difference? It turns out, plenty.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: you get what you pay for. There are some serious quality issues with the cheap metal bottles – we know because we tested lots of them in the process of choosing a bottle for Back2Tap. We encountered leaking caps, paint that literally peeled off after a few weeks, logos that were printed poorly and faded quickly, thin walls that dented very easily, and poor polishing/finishing on the bottle.
Then there’s the question of what the bottles are made of – a cheap bottle may not be made of food grade materials. If you choose stainless steel rather than aluminum, you won’t have to worry about a cheap liner that may allow unwanted constituents to leach into your beverage. Back2Tap bottles are 0.5mm thick, printed with safe and resilient paints in the USA, and are tested to ensure that they comply with FDA and ASTM standards.
An acquaintance of mine sheepishly admitted to me recently that she had supplied her whole swim team with cheap stainless steel water bottles last winter, and now regrets it. The bottles are so junky no one wants to use them anymore! At the Watchung Hills Green Day event in October, a customer who bought a stainless water bottle at our exhibit table admitted that she had just purchased a cheaper steel water bottle at another table. She bought it solely to support the soccer team even though she knew she would never actually use such a poor quality product.
These two stories highlight the main reason Back2Tap doesn't offer cheap reusable bottles – and we have considered doing so, believe me! Plenty of suppliers have contacted us hawking their wares. Low quality bottles just don’t perform well and don’t last so they are not durable and useful, key requirements for sustainable products. Back2Tap doesn’t want to be fostering a throw- away mentality by selling cheap stainless steel water bottles because that is exactly what we are trying to combat. We hope that schools selling Back2Tap bottles for a fundraiser do so with the understanding that they are promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship as well as raising funds.
In sum, there are numerous significant differences between cheap, low quality reusable bottles and better more expensive stainless steel water bottles. If you buy an inferior bottle that doesn’t last or doesn’t get used, your effort to be “greener” or live more sustainably will have failed – so don't even bother! A good reusable bottle can save you hundreds of dollars over its lifetime so it is worth investing in a high quality bottle that you will enjoy using every day.