Responsible Impact

When Water Means Waste

We know how effective an intention can be in moving the needle on something. That’s why we decided this year we will make serious strides towards our Zero Impact goal.

One month after moving into our office, we looked around. It was November of 2018 and everyone was bringing disposable, single-use water bottles. Part of their prevalence hinges on a blend of their convenience and status. But not having clean, drinkable water readily available started to seem silly.

So a month later we did what most offices do: we got a water delivery service. It seemed like a great idea until we contemplated the invisible factors like sanitizing the plastic, the delivery truck’s carbon footprint, behind-the-scenes ramifications of the manufacturing process, water rights issues like water companies’ purchasing towns’ drinking water sources, and hormone interrupters leaching from plastic bottles.

Delivery wasn’t as bad as everyone bringing their own single-use bottles, but we were motivated to keep looking.

We did some math. The average empty bottle weighs 12g, which means we generated about 7,200g (15.8lbs) of plastic waste monthly. That’s a heavy bowling ball per month. Not to mention packaging and plastic labels. All for drinking water.

Empty 5-gallon water bottles weigh about 750g. In any one month we were going through about 15 of them, but their real impact comes from the things we described above. Delivery took the burden off individual employees to source water, but the cycles of trucking alone felt too high-impact.

In fact, here’s the way we thought about it:

The long-term benefit of switching to the filter was abundantly clear. By prioritizing our values in decision-making, we realized that moving towards Zero Impact can also make financial sense.

It’s our favorite outcome – a win/win – and we are proud that we didn’t dawdle in implementing it. By the end of January 2020 we had made the switch.

The system’s upfront cost of about $1,500 was well worth it. Down the road we’ll periodically swap out the filters. We eliminated plastics (except for the filter’s housing) and traded our carbon footprint for an actually walkable path to the filter store a few blocks away. It’s owned by a very nice man who we’re getting to know. Most importantly, it’s helping us think differently about other things in our office, too. It’s become a wellspring of new thinking: What else can we be changing?


Tell Us What You’re Thinking


We’re hoping to connect with others who are debating similar things. What environmental conversations are happening in your office? What values are you prioritizing? What solutions do you see?

Please tell us your experiences and insights, we welcome it all and hope for thoughtful dialogue.

And of course if you’re in the market for water filters, we know just the folks to recommend.

Raising a glass,

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.