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How many 5 gallon coolers does it take to replace 8 cases of bottled water?

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.

Comments (3)

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