Being a health conscious business school student, you make a New Year’s resolution to drink more water. In your effort to reach the impossible goal heralded by doctors and health experts alike of drinking 8-10 glasses per day, you begin to purchase bottled water. It’s portable, tastes good and is conveniently available at all of your usual haunts-the Grille, the vending machines in the hallways of Aldrich and even the local Starbucks.
Unfortunately, your well-intended resolution results in an incredibly negative impact on the environment. Even though you may recycle your water bottle following consumption, the recycling process itself represents only one link in the supply chain. Each bottle of water you consume generates waste through the manufacturing process, through transportation and storage, and finally during its end-use, which is typically a landfill but hopefully a recycling plant. According to eco-conscious website Ideal Bite (idealbite.com), 1.5 million tons of plastic were used last year to bottle 89 billion liters of water.
Believe it or not, bottled water is not always cleaner than tap water. Up to 40% of bottled water comes from a city water system. If you live in a city that has a clean water supply, you are better off filtering your own tap water, rather than purchasing water from an unknown and possibly unsavory source.
Bottled water can also result in a significant dent in your pocket-book. Assuming you drink 3 bottles per day, each costing $1.50, you will end up spending $1,642 each year. That’s enough money to pay for next year’s spring break trip to Aruba!
So, what should you do? Water filters, either the faucet mounted type or pitchers, are your best bet. Once you make the up-front investment (Brita filters will set you back $34.99) filters will last for approximately 100 gallons-that’s about $0.03-$0.04 per 12-16 ounces vs. the $1.50 you were paying before. And best of all, you cut back significantly on the amount of waste generated in the process of preparing and consuming a pre-packaged bottle.
So, keep drinking water-just be smart about it!