I’d like to think I’m an environmentally friendly individual. I recycle, I favor green products & brands and I carry a reusable SIGG water bottle with me. Irrespective of this, I decided to count the number of water bottles I used in a week. I could blame the hot weather but on four occasions in the last week I ran out of water and had to purchase a bottle to keep hydrated. I assume I’m not the only one guilty of grabbing a bottle of water at a corporate lunch, a networking event, at the gym (when I’ve forgotten mine) or outside on a hot day.
The simple math:
On average if you consume one bottle of water a week, that one bottle will equate to 52 bottles a year and approximately 3500 in your lifetime (give or take).
The estimated global annual bottled water consumption is around 200 billion gallons and according to the International Bottled Water Association the US are the largest consumers of bottled water – consuming 8.665 billion gallons annually (2008). Based on the table below, the average person in the US consumes around two .5L bottles of water each week. This is up 32% over five years despite the mainstream acceptance of reusable water bottles.
The scary truth, it can take up to 1000 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose, which means a lot of unnecessary plastic is piling up in landfills and recycling sites. We have an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint.
What seems like a simple solution, we set up water booth fill stations in high traffic areas. These would be similar to water fountains – except that one side of the unit would sanitize the reusable bottle at high pressure to kill bacteria and the water source would be purified, filtered and locally sustainable. Given that the majority of bottled water is just filtered multiple times, your resulting cold refreshing water from a water booth would be similar to the brand name bottled water supplied on the market today. The water booth could even allow the consumer to select a vitamin or flavor supplement to include in the fill up. Given 90% of the cost of bottled water is associated with producing the bottle, lid and labeling, a water booth could offer water at a fraction of the price of bottled water. Like the obsolete 25 cent telephone booth – we could have a 25 cent water booth – with proceeds allocated to environmental causes.
I’d personally love to see the ‘green’ companies out there adopt a booth to maintain in their store, reception area or lunch room. Not to mention in malls, parks and high traffic areas. I hope Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Fiji and other bottled water companies are listening.