During the weeks of Lent, the Green Cheapskate will be sharing his suggestions for little daily sacrifices that can save you money and help Mother Earth breathe a little easier.
Being a professional cheapskate, I'm frequently asked if I buy bottled water. "Heck no," I say in all truthfulness. "I don't even buy bottled wine." Yep, I prefer my water out of the tap and my Chablis in a five liter box. In fact, I think "Chablis" is actually French for "cardboard vineyard," isn't it?
Prepare for shock and awe (and national embarrassment): 1.5 million barrels of oil are used every year to manufacture disposable plastic water bottles for the U.S. market. That's enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year according to an article in the New York Times.
And the bottling process itself wastes two gallons of water for every gallon of water that it actually packages. I was never very good at arithmetic, but I think that's mathematical madness. It's like the company president who reports that his firm is losing money on every sale, but that they plan to make it up in volume.
But here's the thing that really gets my Green Cheapskate blood pressure soaring: Bottled water is 240 to 10,000 times more expensive than water from the tap, depending, I suppose, on how stylish the bottle is. At the same time, bottled water is actually subjected to less rigorous testing and purity standards than our tap water here in the U.S.
According to the Times, if you drink only bottled water you'll spend about $1,400 annually to get your recommended daily amount of H2O, as opposed to 49 cents for a year's supply of just-as-healthy tap water. Use the calculator at www.newdream.org to calculate your savings based on actual consumption, whether it's just for a week during Lent or, better yet, for the whole year.
And while you're at it, take a nanosecond to sign the petition to your governor asking them to stop purchasing bottled water with state funds. It's not only better for the environment, but it's better for taxpayers. Now that's the kind of thrifty talk that makes me work up a thirst.
Note: Check out these suggestions for ways to avoid bottled water.
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