Bottled water, tap water or filtered water – this question has been making headlines over the past few years, especially in regards to businesses in and out of the hospitality industry. Are we contributing to global warming? Is our water supply safe? What are the economic costs for a business of pre-packaged bottled water? Are water coolers sanitary? The answer should be easy – bottled water is expensive, produces a ton of waste and is an environmental nightmare; tap water is the least expensive, has the taint of chlorine, possibly bacteria and other unsavoury particles. Purified and filtered water stands above, providing both affordability and quality.
Here are the Numbers
According to health experts, everyone should be drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, for a total of 2 liters each day. However, most Canadians don’t meet that. British Columbia based website, Living Water Smart, states that “The average adult drinks only about 1.5 litres of water per day, and that includes water used in drinks such as coffee, tea and juice.” If the average water consumption in Canada is 1.5 litres a day per person, that’s 10.5 litres a week and 546 litres per year.
Let’s assume that you run a small restaurant with 10 employees (we’ll leave the guests out of the calculations for now). They work eight hour shifts, which means they’ll probably consume about 1L of water each shift.
- 10L per shift
- 20L per day (assuming two shifts)
- 140L per week
- 7,280L per year
The cost of tap water (including treatment and management) is covered by the municipalities and Canadian taxes. Which means that it’s essentially free – though Canada’s Municipal Water and Waste Water Survey conducted in 2009 and published in 2011, reveals that $1.14 of taxes covers the cost of 1,000 litres of water (drinking, showering, doing the dishes, everything). This totals an average of $8.30 per year based on our calculations – but only for the drinking water.
Bottled water, however, is more costly. A quick look at the average cost of 500ml plastic water bottles sold in packs of 12 shows that they can be as low as $0.25 per bottle. As we calculated, an office of 10 people needs 7,280 L of water (on average); this is the equivalent of 14,560 bottles of water. Multiply that by $0.25 and you’ve got a total cost of $3,640 per year, just to purchase the water. Once the purchase has been made, you’ll need to add taxes and shipping costs. Then, when the water has arrived, you have to store it, taking up valuable refrigerator space. HAVE FUN!
Many offices opt for the big blue 18L water jugs (the ones you upturn into the cooler stand). Again, assuming an average of 7,280 L of water consumed per year, you’ll need 404 bottles of water. Each bottle is between $5 and $6.50, depending on the company, storage arrangements and shipping costs, equally a total of around $2,400 to $2,600 per year.
The cost of purchasing and installing a specialized water filtration system for your team, in your office, restaurant or retail outlet can be as low as half the above costs. Once it’s installed, there are no additional transport fees or storage requirements, and the water supply is unlimited (in some cases, you even have the option of sparkling water as well!) This is a very green solution.
In summary – economically, tap water is the least expensive source of drinking water; the second tier is a specialized water filtration system – who knew that’d be the second most affordable option! Now it’s time to find out which source of water provides the purest, cleanest and healthiest water for your team and your guests!
Water under the Microscope
According to the Health Canada website, “In Canada, the responsibility for making sure drinking water supplies are safe is shared between the provincial, territorial, federal and municipal governments. The day-to-day responsibility of providing safe drinking water to the public generally rests with the provinces and territories, while municipalities usually oversee the day to day operations of the treatment facilities.” Every municipality and jurisdiction follow the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. The drinking water guidelines dictate that water is “tested at various points along its journey”. However, regardless of these safeguards, there is still risk of contamination – “Another way that drinking water can become contaminated is by the products and materials with which it comes into contact. Water is a solvent and can leach metals and other chemicals from pipes, fittings, fixtures, and other products.” While Health Canada does work to ensure everyone has safe drinking water, there is still some risk.
Bottled water, as per Health Canada, “there are specific regulations for bottled water set out in Division 12 of Part B of the Food and Drug Regulations. The regulations provide definitions for different types of bottled water and specify microbiological standards, acceptable treatments and labelling requirements for these products.” While the regulations ensure that bottled water is always safe, there is a possibility that the water being sold is drawn from municipal taps. “It is possible for a bottled water to be produced from municipal tap water that has undergone a treatment process to lower the mineral content and/or remove chemicals such as chlorine.” Which means that the water in your bottle could be exactly the same as the water from you tap… only significantly more expensive. As we discovered in Spas: Rejuvenating Guests and their Skin with Filtered & Purified Water, while the plastic used is BPA and harmful chemical free, “a study conducted in 2011 revealed that most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals…. Which means that each bottle of water we consume introduces trace amounts of a chemicals into our system, chemicals that deter from the water’s healthy benefits.”
Filtered and purified water – that is, water that’s been run through a system to remove particles – is the cleanest of the three. Naturizzata systems, specifically, have patented parts like the UV-ray Disinfecting Chamber and their specialized granulated coconut Carbon Filters along with mechanical filters that ensure the final product in the glass is as pure and clean as possible. All chemicals, particles and any other contaminates are removed from the water.
In short: tap water undergoes treatment and testing to ensure its safe for consumption, but there is still risk; bottled water is regulated by the Canadian Food and Drug regulations, but when the water sits on the shelf, the plastic can leach in to the water; filtered water is the cleanest and purest.
The Final Results
Water is a necessity – our bodies’ need it to work properly, though that’s a topic for another article. Staying hydrated is very important and the most affordable way to fill your glass is to use tap water. However, the healthiest water on the market is water that is filtered and purified at the point of consumption.
If you’re interested in upgrading your water choice to a Naturizzata chilled & sparkling water system, contact us and let us help your team keep hydrated and healthy.