When you consider how much you’re paying for processing and delivery versus the water itself, the cost of a water bottle is incredible. It’s even more surprising when you consider the environmental damage it does at any point in its life. Bottled water is expensive, from the energy necessary for plastic bottle processing to the landfill waste that continues to pile up without decomposition.
All should have access to safe, accessible drinking water without putting the world at risk. By moving to an advanced water purification system, you’re not only having crisp, tasty filtered water that’s always available and lowering your carbon footprint, but you’re also saving money on bottled water for yourself and future generations. The need for filtered, delicious water is evident in today’s world, where customers buy more bottled water than any other bottled beverage. Why not provide it in a way that is less costly on all fronts? You will know about the actual cost of a water bottle and its impact on the environment throughout your reading.
Calculating Bottled Water Consumption Costs
If you think bottled water is only used when the drinking water is polluted during a storm, you’re wrong. Bottled water was the most common beverage in the United States in the last year. Since the 1990s, the number of bottles sold has steadily increased, accounting for 22 percent of the beverage segment in 2018. (Versus just 16.5 percent in 2013).
On average, each 16.9-ounce bottle of water costs about 70 cents per bottle, according to our review of various bottled water brands on Amazon (including private-label options). Buying one bottle at a time from a grocery store, sports venue vendor, or vending machine is, of course, much more expensive. However, for the purposes of this estimate, we’ll presume you buy in bulk if you just drink bottled water, in which case we’ll use the 70-cent-per-bottle price. That works out to around 4 cents per ounce on a unit basis.
Men should drink about 125 ounces of fluid per day. In comparison, women should drink about 91 ounces per day, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. We’ll say that men consume about 100 ounces of fluid a day, and women drink about 73 ounces, based on the assumption that 20% of this intake comes from food and 80% from drinks. Using the 70-cents-per-16.9-ounce figure, you’d spend the following amount on bottled water over the course of a year:
- 4 cents per ounce x 100 ounces per day = $4.00 per day for men. That works out to $1,460 per year.
- 4 cents per ounce x 73 ounces per day = $2.92 per day for women. That works out to $1,065.80 per year.
Keep in mind that these are conservative estimates based on bulk purchases. Your costs would be much higher if you buy water by the bottle or if you just drink luxury brands. You can calculate how much you spend on bottled water by keeping track for a week and multiplying it by 52. (The number of weeks in a year).
Bottled Water’s Low-Cost Alternative
For under $10, you can purchase a reusable bottle that you can refill with tap water and use forever. Contact your municipality to find out how much tap water costs where you live (or, if you have well water, it’s probably free). However, we use a report conducted by the US Department of Energy to measure this in broad terms, which found that in 2016, the average municipal water system paid its consumers $3.38 per 1,000 gallons—or around $0.0034 per gallon, or less than a thousandth of a penny per ounce. So, given that tap water costs $0.000027 per ounce, the cost of the equivalent of a bottle of water (16.9 ounces) supplied from your tap will be:
- Men: $0.000027 per ounce multiplied by 100 ounces per day equals $0.0027 per day. That works out to 99 cents per year.
- Women: $0.000027 per ounce multiplied by 73 ounces per day equals $0.0020 per day. That works out to 72 cents per year.
As a result, moving from pre-packaged bottled water to refillable bottles filled from the tap will save both men and women well over $1,000 per year.
Are You Drinking Tap Water or Bottled Water?
Many people claim to prefer the taste of bottled water to tap water. However, those who prefer bottled water are most likely still drinking water from public sources. According to a 2018 study by the Food and Water Watch group, municipal tap water makes nearly 64 percent of bottled water sold today. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, consider investing in a low-cost water filter that will eliminate contaminants and other compounds.
The Environmental Cost of Bottled Water
As you are probably aware, the cost of a water bottle reaches well beyond the financial consequences. Using bottled water has the potential to damage the climate. Bottling water uses 17 million barrels of oil every year to make the bottles. The bottling process releases around two and a half million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year.
Even though all plastic water bottles are recyclable, only about 20% of them are recycled, resulting in nearly 2 million tons of discarded plastic water bottles in the country’s landfills. Given that almost none of this plastic is biodegradable and is instead left to pile up for decades upon decades, this is a staggering figure. So, what’s the perfect way to slash bottled water’s environmental costs?
So, suppose you want to save over $1,000 a year while still helping to make the planet a little more environmentally friendly. In that case, it may be time to make a move from bottled water to tap water.
Anyone should cut down on the amount of money they spend on drinking water. Although the average retail price per bottle tends to be low, the cost of a water bottle becomes higher over time. A similar definition can be applied to reducing plastic waste. For example, suppose 50 people decide to stop drinking bottled water. In that case, that’s 1,500 plastic bottles that won’t end up in a landfill or the ocean every month.
When you multiply that number by the billions of people on the planet, you can see how much of a difference one tiny change can make. Remember the actual cost of a water bottle and what you can do to support the economy, the climate, and your health.