CleanTech Glass-of-water

Published on March 26th, 2013 | by Priti Ambani

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Filtered Water Coolers: Disrupting an Old and Ineffective Model

Glass-of-waterDid you know that when you pay for bottled water, whether it is single serve or bottled water systems at work, 90% of the cost goes towards handling, transportation and delivery. Moreover, there is a huge environmental cost associated with plastic waste. All this for water that is available at a faucet? Makes no sense.

If you are concerned about impurities in the water, why not just filter it at the point of use? Bottled water companies have come under fire for blatant greenwashing and false marketing claims. Studies have shown that bottled water companies have to follow much lower standards than your municipal water authority. This because the EPA standards that regulate drinking water are far more stringent than that those of the FDA that oversees bottled water.

Here are some hard facts on bottled water:

  • Bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water.
  • Nearly 90 percent of water bottles are not recycled and wind up in landfills where it takes thousands of years for the plastic to decompose.
  • Approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—are used to make plastic water bottles and more is used to transport them thousands of miles.

Using bottled water is responsible for more than just costing you the big bucks when compared to carrying a reusable bottle. So here we have a business model that has a more expensive product, pollutes the environment and may not even be effective on the task. Surely there can be a better alternative.

Quench Bottle-less water coolers use filters to offset the negatives of a bottled water cooler. We at Ecopreneurist are no fans of bottled water systems and there are so many benefits to going bottle-less that we agreed to do this paid advertorial for the Quench system.

Filtered Water Coolers: Disrupting an Old and Ineffective Model

The above arguments apply to bottled water coolers that are used in public places or at workplaces. If you do not like the taste of your tap water or want to purify it further, an on-site filtered water cooler is a much more cost-effective option. These filters would take the place of a regular bottle water dispenser or cooler for a smaller environmental and economic footprint.

Cost Reduction:

If your office pays for water delivery, you are indirectly paying for:

  • Manufacturing costs associated with plastic jugs and filling them with water at bottling plants
  • Shipping 5-gallon water jugs from the bottling plant to distribution centers; and
  • Fuel and labor costs of delivery trucks hauling jugs from the distribution center to your workplace.

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that “90 percent or more of the cost paid by bottled water consumers goes to things other than the water itself – bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, other expenses, and profit.” Indirect costs include environmental costs – costs of disposal, environmental degradation, landfill waste, depletion of finite fossil fuels and more.

All the above costs are redundant when tap water is available to your office or workplace.

Health and Wellness: 

Filtering water can provide a much more desirable drinking water supply by removing any unpleasant odors and taste, bacteria and other toxins.

Sustainable:

The environmental benefits are obvious. Replacing just one traditional 5-gallon jug cooler is the greenhouse gas equivalent of planting up to 120 trees each year. By engaging employees in sustainable practices, your office or company can nurture life-long greener habits in them.

And the bonus: that water cooler conversation can still happen with a sleek filtered water cooler!

Glass of water image via Shutterstock



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About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+



  • http://eric_j_s@comcast.net Eric Silverman

    Priti,

    Thanks for much for the informative post. I scale operations for water-centric start ups, concentrating on clean water and sanitation.

    Eric Silverman

  • http://www.safefilteredwater.com/ Aditya

    While it’s true that water source managers have to adhere to specific regulations about bacteria, heavy metals, chemical toxins and other substances in water, not all contaminants are associated with regulations. Some of these substances are so new that legislators have not managed to legally restrict them, while others have simply been ignored.

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