Currently I’m running an experiment here at Growing a Green Family. Can the average family of four save $50,000 in five years simply by living green? I’m hoping yes, but $50,000 does seem a little high. In any case the first green money saver we’ll look at is bottle water vs. water in reusable water bottles – mainly because I’ve been on sort of a water roll here lately.
Ditch water bottles and drink filtered tap water
The Institute of Medicine notes that you should drink about 13 cups of water per day. However, we’ll go with the Mayo Clinic who recommends eight glasses x 8 oz of water per day. If we believe the Mayo Clinic your family of four should guzzle down about 32 cups/256 ounces/2 gallons of water daily.
How much is bottled water?
I looked around Amazon and found a cheap bulk case of plastic bottled water – $5.99 for a case of 24, 16 oz bottles. At the rate of 2 gallons of water per day, your family would need 1,215 cases of this cheap bulk water over the next five years.
Total cost of bottled water = $7,278.00
How much is filtered tap water and BPA-free reusable bottles?
While I personally think that tap water is safe to drink in most communities, I’m going to assume you want filtered tap water and decide to use a water filter. A decent BPA-free water filter pitcher with recyclable filters will run you $26. The pitcher has recyclable filters but they need replaced every two months and the total cost of new filters, if you buy in bulk, over five years is $150.00.
For a family of four, you’ll need eight reusable, BPA-free water bottles. I’m assuming that everyone in the house loses a bottle at least once. Eight decent mid-level BPA-free reusable water bottles will run you $192.00. See BPA-free water bottles for kids and BPA-free water bottles for adults.
Although costs for water vary, the national average cost to treat, filter, and deliver water to ratepayers in the United States is 0.2 cents per gallon. Over five years your family will drink 3,650 gallons of water so in total you’ll pay $730.00 for water over five years.
Total cost of filtered tap water + eight reusable water bottles = $1,098.00
Money saved over five years if you skip bottled water = $6,180
NOTE: If you don’t filter and simply drink tap you’d save $6,356 in five years.
Of course money is not all you’ll save by drinking filtered tap water though…
- Bottles saved from landfill over five years = 29,160.
- Oil saved over five years (it takes 3 fl oz of crude oil to make one plastic water bottle) = 87,487 fl oz; 683 gallons of crude oil.
- Lakes saved over five years = probably many.
- Excess water saved (a bottle that holds 1 liter of fluid requires 5 liters of water in its manufacturing) since your family drinks about 968 liters in five years you save the planet an excess of = 4,840 liters of water.
- Not to mention that your family of four is saved from chemicals and BPA that leech from plastic water bottles.
- Also you’ll save on energy used to create and recycle those plastic water bottles along with pollution created by said creation of plastic bottles. I’ve got no clue how to figure out energy savings, but when you consider that annual bottle making produces 2.5 million tons of CO2 it’s easy to figure that by not buying 29,160 you’re saving the planet quite a bit.
END RESULT: We’re trying to save $50,000 and so far we’ve saved $6,180. That leaves $43,820 left to save. Can we do it?