Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere

Yes, I can think of a few instances in which a person might need/want to buy a bottle of drinking water. For one, the regulations in place at airports means you can no longer bring a thermos of water with you when traveling.  However, for everyday use there seems to be no logical reason to be buying those bottles of water. 

Here in NYC we have highly ranked and rated tap water.  In fact it's so highly rated that a smart young man began bottling and selling NYC tap water a few years ago, and yes, it sells well.  http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/25/nation/na-tapwater25

NYC residents are already paying for that water through water and sewer taxes, so why not take advantage of what is being paid for?  Even an expensive thermos or specialized "water bottle" pays for itself within a few weeks, and then it's yours for decades of use.  Like your water icy cold?  Err, anyone reading this who doesn't have a refridgerator available?  Spend another couple of dollars for a 1/2 gallon or gallon container, fill with tap water and keep in the fridge--instant cold water to fill the thermos with.

I've heard many people say that it is a pain to have to shlep that thermos around, and that it is more convenient to just buy a bottle and throw out the bottle after it's empty.  After all, we're only talking about pennies here.  Sigh.  As if pennies don't add up to dollars, lots of dollars, rather quickly.

Let's say you are a commuter who doesn't carry bottles with you, but you do buy a bottle at a convenience store on the way to the office.  On average that is going to be $1 per bottle you buy.  Five days a week of work, and you are spending $5 a week for those bottles.  Drink more and you are obviously going to be spending more.  The vending machine at school sells the small bottles of water for "only" 75 cents each.  Again, you do the math.  This could amount to $260 per year, per drinker.

Even if you buy those bottles in the 24-packs on sale you are not likely to be getting them for less than $3-4  per pack.  You might be averaging about 15-20 cents per bottle.  And check the amount in those bottles--a whole lot of bottlers are putting in less than 8 ounces to a bottle.  So now you are only going to be spending 30 to 40 cents per day for those two bottles of water.  But hold on, that's 30-40 cents per person who takes water with them in your household.  Let there be only 3 people who take that water and you are now spending 90 to $1.20 per day for that water.  Carry this out to a yearly expense and what you have is about $300  per year, if not more.  If you have more water drinkers or drink more water the cost obviously goes up.

Given the cost, a thermos or water bottle would pay for itself in from 2-4 weeks.  Why not decide that this is the year that you aren't going to "water down" your available spending money and are going to start putting that money back into your pocket.  Just another example where the pennies add up to serious dollars.

Note: if you buy those water bottles in a supermarket, check your register tape.  Those cases of water that are on sale at 4 for $12?  Sorry, but that isn't the final cost.  Check the tape and you will see that you are also being charged 5 cents per bottle for the State bottle deposit charge.  At 24 bottles per case, that's an additional $1.20 you are being charged per case.  And if you throw away those bottles instead of recycling them yourself, that's $1.20 you are willfully and knowingly throwing in the garbage.


Rae said...

Just a little more information. A lot of that bottled water that is sold is not natural spring water. It's purified water, which means that a whole lot of it comes from municipal water sources--think tap water. So people in New York won't drink their tap water but are buying it and some like it but maybe not as good.

JS said...

The cost is one thing. The amount of added pollution from those bottles is another - not to mention the fact that the plastic is produced from oil.

Only good reason I can think of having them is in case of emergency when tap water is unsafe to drink or to keep in a car.

What I find annoying is people who come over and are parched and give you a weird look when you offer them filtered water from a Brita and not a newly opened water bottle.

rejewvenator said...

There's nothing wrong with bringing your empty thermos or other water bottle through security, and filling it from the water fountain on the other side. I NEVER buy water in the airport, that's a real waste of money.

Abba said...

"And if you throw away those bottles instead of recycling them yourself, that's $1.20 you are willfully and knowingly throwing in the garbage."

disagree. it literally isn't worth my time to get back my nickels. i've been meaning to rant about this for a while: http://abbasrantings.blogspot.com/2012/09/redeeming-bottles.html

tesyaa said...

Ha, I drove a mile out of my way yesterday to save $1.40 on gasoline. Netting out the cost of the extra gas used to get there, and the wear and tear on my car, I'm still ahead by a dollar or so. (The extra time spent driving there was actually minimal).

reader said...

Good post.

Another problem with the bottle people is that some of them litter our environment with the container when finished (e.g. toss it out from their vehicle or some other lowlife act).

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