Water is big business. In the US alone, $35 Billion dollars is spent annually on bottled drinking water. Small and large businesses alike, non-profit organizations and municipalities have been convinced, like the general public, that spending big money on bottled water equaled a better product to drink. But the fiscal impact, damage to the environment, and fractured employee relationships has led many organizations to revisit how they value our most precious commodity – water.
The Water Bottle Nation
Over the last 15 years, water bottle use has increased dramatically and drinking a cup of water from the tap is now considered inferior to prepackaged water bottles. In the US alone, 1500 plastic water bottles are consumed every second. Though recycling programs exist almost everywhere, 80% of these bottles will end up in landfills where even the smallest piece of plastic will never biodegrade. Water that could cost mere pennies from the tap is costing thousands and hitting corporate budgets hard.
Work Place Community
Traditionally a walk over to the office water cooler meant a chance encounter with co-workers to catch up on the latest must-see TV moments, the political blunder of the day, and to visit with each other. This kind of interaction builds relationships and strengthens workplace communities. Over time, the water bottle nation has removed this central gathering place from the office and while this seems like a simple change, a lack of employee unity can cause quality of work to suffer.
Bring Back the Water Cooler
Citing the environmental impact, budget concerns and quality of the workplace, corporations and cities nationwide have voted to stop purchasing bottled water for their offices and are instead investing in water coolers that filter tap water. By installing systems that utilize the tap water coming into the building, water coolers and water cabinets are making a comeback. Businesses find that they save money and eliminate the hassle of storing cases of water as well as the cost of replacing and cleaning filters in those 5 gallon water dispensers. Rental programs that provide all services for one low monthly fee – without the hassle of putting bottles out for pickup – are efficient and cost effective as well as environmentally conscious.
And that is great for business.
Read more about Water Cooler Culture here
Read more about how cities have stopped purchasing bottled water here