Save Some Money and the Environment

By Pablo Narez, Sustainability Ambassador

Like most college students, I like saving money but I also like saving the environment. As a fellow student, I know first-hand how difficult it can be living life on a budget. Luckily, I’ve found an easy way to do both! You’re probably asking yourself, “But Pablo, how can I save money and the environment at the same time?” I will tell you random reader – by drinking water! Well, more specially, filtered tap water.  In this post, I will break down the costs of drinking filtered tap water versus bottled water and how we can make our wallets a little bit fatter as well as reduce our plastic water bottle waste!

So how much money will drinking filtered tap water save me?

First, let’s break this down by how much water you should drink a day. According to humans should drink roughly 2 liters or half a gallon of water a day.

Now let’s assume you get your entire water intake from bottled water. I’m not going to account for sugared beverages because that’s a whole other beast.

A 24-case of Nestle Pure Life half-liter bottles costs around $7.00. That should meet the recommended water intake for a person for one week. Now let’s multiply that by 52 weeks, which gives us an annual cost of $364.

Now let’s see the annual cost of drinking water from a tap filter.

A Brita filter water pitcher is around $21 and 1 filter cartridge, at around $20 a pop, will last about 4 months – that’s a switch at about every 100 gallons. Also, the cost of tap water is pretty insignificant.

So, ($21)+(3 times $20)= $81 for one person annually.

That’s a difference of $283 annually! So what will your life be like with $283 extra dollars? Well, you could invest it in the stock market, donate it to a charity, start your retirement account OR you could afford to eat around 113 tacos annually! That’s under the assumption that tacos cost $2.25 each (tacos are expensive in the Bay Area).  

Now let’s talk about how this can help the environment. So let’s continue under the assumption that you went for the Brita filter over the 52 packs of 24 water bottles. That would equal to saving 1,248 plastic water bottles from being produced annually. What’s that you say? You are telling me that Captain Planet was your favorite super hero growing up and he taught you to recycle all of your plastics bottles? Well, unfortunately only about 38.6% of all plastic bottles in the US are actually recycled.

There are also health benefits to choosing filtered tap water over bottled water. Most tap water is actually more heavily regulated than bottled water, therefore making it safer to drink than bottled water. It also requires about 3 times the amount of water to produce the bottle, and that doesn’t even count the water it takes to fill the actual bottle.

Now want me to tell you my little secret to saving more money? I actually drink straight from the tap, no Brita filter needed! But you should know that I live the the Bay Area, and we get our water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir which is one of the cleanest sources of water in the state of California. So before you try and drink straight from the tap do some research to see where your water is coming from and if you do in fact need a filter.

Sources and prices here: