AROUND THE WATER COOLER: A bottle-free blog

The Story of Bottled Water

Did you ever think about how bottled water came to be?

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A big year for Bottle Free Indy

At Bottle Free Indy, we’re becoming social butterflies. To help spread the word about our mission, we’re filling up our dance card with local events and outings so we can meet even more awesome people in 2013. Here’s what we’ve got planned so far—we hope to see you out and about!

We’re starting the year off right by donating our bottle-free coolers to the Indiana Brewer’s Guild Winter Fest on January 26th. We’re lucky that our friends at Sun King Brewery recommended us after we worked together on a couple events in 2012, where we had a blast working with like-minded folks like Green Bean Delivery and the crew from ActiveIndy Draught Dash. And of course, we were super excited to have the opportunity to drink beer… ummm serve water!

In April, we’ll be working with our son’s school St Monica to teach the kids how to “take back the tap.” This outreach program designed by is a fantastic way to teach children the real cost of bottled water. These interactive lessons will encourage children to think about the resources around them and how they are used and often wasted.

This is just the beginning. Our goal at Bottle Free Indy is to make our city bottle-free—free from the unsustainable model of delivering bottled water and free from the plastic waste of disposable water bottles. As we pack our schedule full of events to help spread the word, we hope you’ll join us. How about you? What is your mission? We would love to hear from you.

Peace and love,

Bottle Free Indy

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A busy mom’s guide to going bottle free

“Mommy, I’m thirsty!” Sound familiar? We’ve all heard we should be drinking eight glasses (that’s 64 ounces if you’re curious) of water a day, but we’re also presented with a lot of conflicting information that can interfere with making healthy decisions for our families.

Take bottled water, for example. It’s a common misconception that bottled water is safer than tap, plastic bottles get recycled, and no harm is being done to the environment in the bottling process.

So why do we still buy bottled water? Because we’re busy and it’s convenient. How tempting is it to load the mini van full of bottled water bounty with a quick trip to the store? Pretty tempting. But what are the consequences?

Bottled water takes a toll on the environment, not to mention your wallet, and even poses health risks. Here are some reasons why you should kick the bottle habit:

- As much as 40 percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered tap water anyway. If it says “from a municipal source” or “community water system”, it’s just filtered tap water.

- Tap water costs about $0.002 per gallon compared to the $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon charge for bottled water.

- 88 percent of empty plastic water bottles in the United States are not recycled. The Container Recycling Institute says that plastic water bottles are disposed of (not recycled) at the rate of 30 million a day.

- Plastic bottles can leach chemicals into the water if left in the sun, heated up, or reused several times.

So what’s a busy mom with a carload of thirsty kiddos on the way to [insert extracurricular here] to do? We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you keep your family hydrated and to go green without going crazy.

Your secret weapon? An under-the-sink filtration system. They hook into your water line and provide an unlimited supply of fresh water for drinking and cooking. It’ll remove chlorine, lead, and other hazardous impurities found in your municipal water supply, and on average, will cost you just 38 cents a day.

The next step in becoming bottle free is swapping out disposable water bottles for more sustainable choices. Next time you’re thirsty, reach for a glass or a reusable bottle like Lifefactory.

And don’t forget to ditch the bottle at the office and the gym.  Ask your boss or yoga instructor if they’ll consider going bottle free and install a bottle free water cooler.  They won’t need to replace those big bulky jugs every month and it’ll save them some money, too.

We think that no matter how busy life gets, it’s still important to make good decisions that benefit your family, your health, and the planet. Our goal at Bottle Free Indy is to make Indianapolis bottle free — free from the unsustainable model of delivering bottled water and free from the plastic waste of disposable water bottles.

Want to join our mission? Connect with us on Twitter, and Facebook, and stay in touch. We look forward to hearing about your bottle-free progress!

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Money down the drain: the economics of bottled water

Picking up a bottle of water at the supermarket or the gym might be quick and easy, but it has its costs. Americans spent $15 billion on bottled water last year. That’s more than we spent on iPods or movie tickets.

Bottled water is thousands of times more expensive than tap water. Compare $0.002 per gallon for most tap water, to a range of $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon for bottled water, according to

Fast Company reports, if the water we use at home cost even what the cheapest bottled stuff costs, our monthly water bill would be around $9,000.

What’s really in that bottle?
Approximately 40 percent of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is just filtered water from the tap, which is exactly the same thing you can do at home for a fraction of the cost.

So, why do we pay more?
When we buy bottled water, we’re not buying the water itself — we’re buying a chilled, convenient, branded beverage, with the false notion that it’s safer than tap water.

Craving a change for good?
According to Charles Fishman, author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, “A single half-liter of bottled water costs as much as a day’s worth of cooking, washing, showering, and toilet-flushing for a whole family.”

From filtered pitchers to undersink systems, there are options available for any budget. Grab your favorite reusable bottle, and you’re ready to take on the world. Water filters can also make tap water safer for small children and people with compromised immune systems.

Once you give up your bottled water habit, you’ll find you have some welcome extra cash floating around your wallet. See? Change is good.

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Get your fill: Lifefactory’s eco-friendly mission

Our goal at Bottle Free Indy is to make Indianapolis bottle-free — free from the unsustainable model of delivering bottled water and free from the plastic waste of disposable water bottles. We take our mission seriously, and value other companies that do the same.

That’s why we’re really digging San Francisco-based Lifefactory– not only for their eco-friendly line of reusable water bottles, but for their company’s mission.


Founders Pam Marcus and Daren Joy create innovative, non-toxic products that make it easy to lead a healthy and socially and environmentally conscious lifestyle.

We like their glass bottles, which are specially made in France, because they’re are durable, dishwasher safe, and free of icky chemicals (BPA, phthalate, PVC, and polycarbonate). Not to mention, water just tastes better from a glass bottle!

Lifefactory also ships its products in minimal, biodegradable packaging made from 100% recycled materials. How cool is that? Companies with a socially-aware and earth-friendly core mission get high marks from us.


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Will you be my (green) Valentine?

It’s that time of year again– Valentine’s Day. What better way to impress your sweetheart than by giving a local and sustainable gift? Forget red and pink. Go green this Valentine’s day.

Give your love life a jolt with organic, fair trade teas and coffees from Indy-based Hubbard and Cravens. Choose from blends like Organic Ethiopian Sidamo or Sobro Organic.

Endangered Species Chocolate is a local, organic chocolate maker that donates 10% of net profits to organizations that support endangered wildlife and habitats. They offer all kinds of  yummy V-day chocolates.

Is your sweetie not-so-traditional? How about a subscription to the Bacon of the Month club from Goose the Market? You can get one of those, along with all kinds of organic, locally-sourced meat treats from both Smoking Goose and Goose the Market.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?


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Three green resolutions (you’ll actually keep)

It’s that time of year again, when we resolve to make positive changes in our lives in honor of the new year. Beyond the usual banishment of plastic bags and unwanted junk mail, what more can you do to green-ify your life? We’ve got a few ideas.

Do it yourself. Studies show the average household uses 40 lbs of chemicals each year to clean our homes. Those chemicals wind up in local streams and rivers. Making your own cleaning supplies is cheap and eco-friendly. Everybody wins! Want some DIY inspiration? Check out YouTube and Pinterest.

Reduce your water footprint. The water we use in our homes everyday is only three percent of the water we consume. Three percent! What are we using all that other water for? To produce the stuff we consume every day, including food. Check out to calculate your footprint and find ways you can lower it.

Get involved. Think of ways you can go green(er). Learn more about green organizations and get involved with the green efforts in your community. Organizing a neighborhood clean up or contacting your congressmen is easier than it sounds. Really!

What else are you resolving to do in the new year? Let us know.

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Keep it evergreen

If the holidays put you in a giving mood, consider volunteering or donating to your favorite eco-friendly organization. We’ve rounded up a few to help you spread the holiday cheer, with a green twist.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful
Uniting people, beautifying the city and improving the environment. Every year KIB assists hundreds of neighborhoods and communities in the Indy area to realize community beautification projects.

Indy Parks and Recreation
Indy Parks is a nationally accredited park system committed to meeting the growing recreational and leisure needs of Indianapolis through quality services, programs and facilities.

Animalia supports wildlife conservation efforts of threatened and endangered species by raising awareness through education a. They offer a number of volunteer positions for teens (14 and older) and adults looking to help animals.

You can also check with Volunteer Match and SERVEnet to find charities in your neighborhood that need holiday volunteers.

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The ripple effect

Bottle Free Indy is more than our name; it’s our mission. Our goal is to make Indianapolis bottle-free — free from the unsustainable model of delivering bottled water and free from the plastic waste of disposable water bottles.

What’s the environmental impact? Simply put, the traditional bottled water delivery service is wasteful. Manufacturing those unwieldy water jugs takes precious resources and energy. And transporting water jugs in diesel-burning trucks creates unnecessary fuel emissions. The way we see it, every bottleless water cooler that’s installed helps clear the air.

What else makes bottle-free coolers way cooler? They filter your existing water right at your fingertips — no waste, and no waiting (but you can read more about that here).

Breaking the bottle habit. It’s estimated that water bottles account for up to 41% of the 2.4 million tons of plastic discarded every year. That’s why the next step in becoming bottle-free is swapping out disposable water bottles for reusable ones. Next time you’re thirsty, reach for a glass or a reusable bottle like Klean Kanteen.

Why do we care so much? Unlike national water cooler suppliers, Bottle Free Indy is a family-owned Indianapolis company. We’ve been proud to call Indiana home since our parent company, Indy Soft Water, was first founded in 1964. While going bottle-free isn’t the sole solution to creating a more sustainable city, it’s one piece of the environmental puzzle.

Join our mission. Your efforts to lead a greener lifestyle may inspire those around you to do the same, and slowly, one by one, we can make a positive change. So, we invite you to join us. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and stay in touch. We look forward to hearing about your bottle-free progress!

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