Bottled Water

pkockMay 10, 2004

I see this was addressed in another thread, but "stand up for yourself" was getting off track and I have a question, anyway. :-)

I consider myself a moderately frugal person; we're making do as a family of four on one modest income. I do buy bottled water, but usually only in the summer and if it's on sale - and it usually is, in the summer. I pay approx. $3.99 for a 24-pack of 1/2 liter bottles. That's 12.5 cents per bottle.

The reason I do this is because I prefer the taste to our tap water (which isn't terrible, even so) but mostly because of convenience. It's so easy just to grab a bottle, already chilled, and head to the gym or go jump in the car. The kids drink more water this way, too. It's more appealing, I guess. And yes, we recycle the bottles.

For a long time we "recycled" the bottles by washing out and refilling them, too. But I stopped doing this because it didn't seem worth it, and that's my question. I would run hot water, put in a drop of dish soap and some water and shake it, then rinse and re-fill with cold tap water. I'd save up several to do at a time, and re-stock the fridge with them.

But then we'd get guests over who reached for our "bottled water" and what seemed sanitary for family members seemed weird for guests, even though bottle and cap were washed just as well as any of our dishes/glasses. And I wondered if I spent more money on water (and time's worth something too) washing them out than it'd take to buy another bunch of new ones.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would not have a problem with what you're doing if I were a guest. As you said, you're washing the water bottles as well as any other glasses or dishes.

However, my question would be, if tap water is acceptable the second time around, after you've drunk the store-bought water and refilled the bottles, then what was the reason for buying bottled water in the first place?

But that issue aside, no, I don't think you are spending anywhere close to $3.99 for 24 bottles of water when you wash and refill them from your tap. You are talking about 12 liters of water there, which is a little over 3 gallons. You surely throw at least two or three times that much water away in the process of washing and refilling the bottled, but you're still probably at less than 15 gallons. The cost of that water through a municipal water system is negligible -- probably a couple of cents at most. Adding a couple more cents for soap and energy to heat water, you're still at well under a dime for 24 bottles of water.

If it takes you 15 minutes to complete this task, you are "earning" an hourly rate of $15.56 for your time, because you are spending 15 minutes to save $3.89. Not a bad rate of return.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

To each his own. I'd get a water filter on my sink. That's because Consumer Reports says that bottled water is no safer than most tap water--that's because it ofen comes FROM tap water. If you think it tastes better, then either let the chlorine dissapate by leaving the tops off a little before you refrigerate or freeze. Or get the filter which is healthier for you anyway. Watch for sales.

Another way to look at this is 3.99 X 52 = $207.48 (I know you said that you only do this in the summer, but I don't know if you buy one or two a week in the summer...) You'd have your filter paid for easily and be able to use it for the rest of your lifetime.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"It's more appealing, I guess."

I suspect that has a lot to do with why bottled water is so popular. Maybe it's breaking that plastic seal so that you feel you're getting something "special" and new, something just for you. Opening a refilled bottle just doesn't have the same thrill. Americans have been trained though many decades of drinking sodas and such from bottles that drinking bottled water is the way to drink a "serious" beverage.

Can I suggest that you buy each of your family members a sharp-looking sports bottle and keep it refilled? That's what we do when we go out hiking. When we get back, the bottles are refilled and put back in the fridge. We certainly don't wash them each time they're refilled-- I'd worry more about detergent residues than drinking from my own unwashed water bottle. An occasional wash seems fine.

Drinking from one's own jazzy sports bottle has a certain cache`, you know.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2004 at 12:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In a number of jurisdictions, there are fewer tests conducted/required on bottled water than on plain old municipally-sourced stuff.

Quite an advertising coup they've pulled on many of us.

When I walk down the aisle in the store where the small and huge bottles of clear water are sitting - I just smile and walk on by.

Good wishes for finding economical sources of high quality food and water, all.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2004 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you have an aversion to tap water,use distilled water, this can be purchased at Wal Mart for 59 cents per gallon. Make sure you purchase water that states processed by distillation. This water is 100% free of all minerals, purification chemicals and is re sterilized by the ozination process, plus being micro filtered. . Ths water is taken from local muicipal water plants and processed as I stated above.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a reverse osmosis system on our sink, the water tastes SO good as opposed to the nasty tap water. I refill our bottles too. It saves lots of money, because here in the desert you must take water with you wherever you go. I got dehydrated once and that is an experience that I vowed never to go through again. I drink 8-9 bottles of water a day, I refill one at the water cooler at work throughout the night probably 6-7 times.

I say go for the refilling process. It is worth it in the long run!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 6:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We also refill bottles.BP or Shell outlets sell a Sobee beverage in 20 Oz glass bottles with a metal cap. We collected 12 bottles over a period of time. We now wash, sterilize these bottles and fill them with distilled water for drinking.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 8:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you buy juice in small bottles?

Nothing to say that you can't rinse and wash them, then refill then from the tap.

If the chlorination bothers you, let 'em sit in the sun for a while after filling, then stick them into the fridge.

A nickel saved is equal to 7 cents extra earnings, after all.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 7:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What happens to the water when you let them sit in the sun? Does the clorine taste go away? Just curious...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 4:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When chlorinated water sits in the sun, the dissolved chlorine gas becomes undissolved and dissipates. Out of the sun works, but not as quickly.

Heating/boiling will do it, as well, but that's too much trouble and takes too much energy.

Just hope that you don't catch a thirsty fly during the process.

I have some grain moths around here that love peanuts, cookies, etc. And can chew holes through regular thickness plastic bags, drat it.

When I leave water standing around (e.g. in a mug after I've drunk milk, to make washing easier) often several moths seem to get caught in the water.

If, supposing I'd run an advertising/public relations agency ten or so years ago and someone had come to me to ask me to mount an advertising campaign seeking to convince people that, instead of drinking heavily tested municipal water from the tap at fractions of a cent per glass, they wanted me to con the public into buying water in a bottle, with who knows what level of testing, at a price higher than we pay for gasoline ...

... I'd have fallen off of my chair laughing ...

... and run them out of the office, saying that the proposed task was impossible!

Granted, the water is in a (small) bottle, and the gasoline is sold in bulk.

And ... we b*tch about the price of gas, and discuss how we should try to avoid dependence on the Middle Eastern variety.

But nary a complaint about the price of (bottled) water!

Did someone say that hooman beens were logical, objective and reasonable?

By the way - how come we hear so much about Saddam and his cohorts ... but I haven't heard much about Osama for months? After all - 15 of the 19 flyers in the planes that hit the Towers were ... Saudis.

Have a great autumn, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 23, 2004 at 6:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OKAY you win! I am no longer buying bottled water! Part of this agreement comes from the job I recently began as cashier at a local retailer, which entails hefting case after case of 1/2 liter bottles. :-) No, I bought four big sports bottles with a re-freezable cooler insert and put the kids' initials on the bottoms with a Sharpie, and gosh, who cares about bottled water anymore? LOL!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 12:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Congrats on kicking the habit! You'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maxwell (and others),

Let's see, now, how does the bank work?

They take money from A ...

... and lend it to B ...

at a higher rate (of course - they have a "cost of doing business", right?

And make more money on A's money than A does!

The bank guarantees to A that they'll repay every dollar that s/he gave them.

Plus rent on the money.

There's another guarantee that they don't say much about - they won't pay back one dollar more than they "borrowed".

But there are two rats that eat A's cheese.

The Income Tax People want to talk to us each year about every dollar of our income in that year.

Up here in Canada, they charge different rates of tax on varying kinds of income (with the lowest rates being on that which the wealthy folks "earn").

So much for one rat's victuals.

As you know, $10,000. won't buy as much as it would 10 years ago.

So - if, after five years, you get back exactly as many dollars as you gave the other guy for safekeeping - you have less "value" now than then.

So - you must take away some of the dollars that the rented-out money earned - in order to keep the amount of purchasing power enjoyed by the original amount intact.

After you pay the income tax on current earnings ...

... and put some current earnings back with the original pot off cash (asset) in order to keep its purchasing power updated, you get what's left.

Which, lately has been very close to zero (if not below the line).

Remember - the rats eat first.

Banks usually set their rates so that ...

... they make more than you do ...

On your money.

Have a happy autumn, all.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   October 2, 2004 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Walked through a hardware store with my 80-year-old dad.

He looked around and said: "Grandpa would be turning in his grave thinking people were buying bags of dirt and bottles of water."

I am a repentant consumer of bottled water. Will install a filtered system in new kitchen. Looking forward to it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2004 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Better watch it, Ed. I've just been disciplined on another thread for posting a "political" message.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 10:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi again max,

Did they erase the dubious message?

If not, what was the thread?

My heart is all a-flutter: can't wait to see what it was.

'T'ain't nice, you know, to be a disturber of the barnyard by-product!

Hope you're having a ball in the fall.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 14, 2004 at 6:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A lot of people around here who buy botted water are people who have well water who do not like the taste of it. Many of them get the big jugs that you place upside down on the refrigeration unit, that way they can plug in another power consuming appliance as well as buy the big jugs of water.

Yet if you give yourself a week or so, you adjust to the taste of the well water, and then city water tastes and smells so chlorinated that you'd think it was drawn straight out of a swimming pool. There truly is a lot of money to be made in catering to people's extreme sensitivities. It's a lot cheaper to become a little less sensitive.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hoo said hooman beans wuz reasonable?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

:) I've always been entertained by how many of the bottle waters come from in or around State College, PA- yes, the water is good out there, but calling it spring water is like calling Coors a microbrew.

I've got a brita filter on the kitchen tap because I grew up with a deep well, and the 'town' water tastes funny to me...

but I recycle my seltzer bottle to carry portable water (I lose water bottles all the time, buying them would be more expensive than buying the bottled water)

guests? drink filtered tap water from a glass- none of us believe the bottled water hype.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does anuyone else around here get the feeling that you guys may be all wet?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

(I'm disappointed - was sure that I'd get a reply to that latest sally)!

Anyway - hope you're finding some interesting and innovative things to do and people to meet.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This, going back 4 years, was on p. 20.

Don't forget - the bottles are made from ...

... Precious Petroleum!

(And tend to get dropped along the roadside - or go into landfill ...

... future generations will marvel at our wasteful ways).

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 5:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This brings back a funny memory. When bottled water first came out my mom was very into the idea (granted, we did live on a horrible well) for the taste and convenience. Oh did I laugh at her!! It took years, but eventually I started buying them too because I found that I did drink more water when I had them available. I truly do like the taste better (of some). My comprise now is to get the powdered crystal light (or more often, celestial seasons for more natural) tea packets and keep them at work. I drink water from the filter there, in a real glass, and mix in just enough of the powder to lightly tint and barely flavor the water. I find I drink a lot more water this way and the packets go really far if you just need a hint of flavor. And sometimes if I put more flavor in, it even helps stop a developing sweet tooth!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2008 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Heard a scientist on PBS talking about bottled water as "dead water." Because all the healthful minerals are filtered out of it.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can you post a link to that?

The bottled waters I drink list the minerals, so it is not true for all. Which ones was he talking about?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Although I am an aggressive recycler I decided to reduce my plastic footprint so I got a Brita pitcher and the water tastes better than most bottled water. Deer Park water comes from PA (my sister lives there) when it first came out it was good, now it tastes like mediocre tap water. You can also get a home carbonator from Soda Club (dot com) which works great. You can mix soft drinks 50/50 with carbonated water and the taste is the same or better plus you go through the soda twice as slowly. I got my neighbor hooked on this sytem, her hubbie spontaneously commented on how much less plastic was in their recycling. No matter how you work it bottled water is a rip off and an environmental non-harmony.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not to be argumentative, but this is like a lot of things. What works for one may not work for all.

The cost of bottled water vs. the cost of medications, doctor bills, and pain caused if I don't drink enough water. It's just that simple. Our water here is bad.

The only city water I have tasted in the last 15 years that was drinkable was New York City! I was so suprised, but it tastes really good.

I've also tried a Brita filter, a Pur filter and the filters they sell for RV's - none get rid of the chlorine taste - not for me.

I have used plain old well water for many, many years - so it isn't that I'm just finicky. I can't drink city water, unless it is in tea or coffee.

We used to buy filters that were very inexpensive that filtered out all the bad taste, many bacteria and filtered out flouride. I can't find them any more.

I'm hoping we can come up with the money for our own well this year. We can't attach it to our home, but I can drink it.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 8:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cable alternatives
We are moving to a place where we are unable to get...
Money saving idea
Start deep cleaning your home. It is amazing the things...
Barcode on the envelope?
I used a envelope which has barcode on it to send a...
Need Ideas-Extra Space/Supplemental Income
My wife and I recently had twins which upped our kid...
Which smartphone for PagePlus?
Looking for help for my first smartphone purchase,...
Sponsored Products
Nuance Gray Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$322.00 | Bellacor
Dog Shaped Water Pipe Table Lamp with Water Valve Dimmer
Fitzgerald Bench - Key Largo Grape Purple
Joybird Furniture
Toto Drake Round Toilet - CST743S#01
$243.99 | Hayneedle
Tall Ivy Cone in Red Tin with Bow
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Indoor/Outdoor Parisian Chevron Rug (5' x 8')
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™