Focus Green: Bottled Water Alternatives

Traditionally, we have kept bottled water on-hand as a refreshment for prospective renters visiting the community; however, as part of our Focus Green goal to reduce waste at our communities and offices, we strongly encourage our teams to find alternatives to single-use plastic water bottles and other disposable plastic beverage containers. This is because 80 percent of empty water bottles end up in landfills versus being recycled and, like plastic bags, plastic bottles are among the most prevalent sources of pollution found on our beaches.

Waste-free options include water-bottle fill stations, water coolers and/or filtration systems, spa water (sliced cucumber or citrus fruit in a glass pitcher) and reusable, branded drinkware. Fill stations are available through HD Supply, our preferred national supplier of maintenance products, and Alliance communities receive an additional 10-percent discount. Click here for more information. Coolers and filtration systems can be leased through Staples at a monthly rate of $6 – $49 per cooler, depending on the model chosen. Please contact our account rep for additional details by clicking here.

Fast Facts: Bottled Water

  • According to “National Geographic,” Americans drink more bottled water than any other nation, purchasing an impressive 29 billion bottles every year. Making all the plastic for those bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil, which is equivalent to the fuel needed to keep one million vehicles on the road for 12 months. If you were to fill one-quarter of a plastic water bottle with oil, you would be looking at roughly the amount used to produce that bottle.
  •  Drinking two liters of tap water a day costs only 50 cents a year. Yet, Americans spend more than $15 billion dollars each year on bottled water and much of what’s bottled is simply treated municipal tap water, resold to the public at a premium mark-up. In fact, 90 percent of the cost of the bottle is the bottle itself.
  • Tap water is often subject to more stringent regulation and testing than bottled water.
  • Currently, there is six times more plastic than plankton floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Plastic bottles take 700 years to decompose and if they are incinerated, toxic byproducts, such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals, are released into the atmosphere. When allowed to break down, plastic photodegrades, which means the materials break down into smaller fragments that readily absorb toxins and cause contamination.
  • Bottled water often takes a long journey to U.S. markets. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that the energy used to pump, process, transport and refrigerate bottled water is more than 50 million barrels of oil annually.
  • Plastic leaches toxins into water, which have been linked to health problems such as reproductive issues and cancer. In California, an independent lab tested for hundreds of different chemicals in 38 brands of California bottled water. Two samples had arsenic contamination, six had chemical byproducts of chlorination and six had measurable levels of the toxic chemical toluene.