Skip to main content

Brita, Nalgene Launch Plan to Promote Less Wasteful Water Use

Brita Products Co. and Nalgene Outdoor Products unveiled a program Monday aimed at steering thirsty consumers from the bottle to the tap.

The companies launched FilterForGood to encourage people to choose home-filtered water over bottled water at a time when the bottled water industry finds itself under fire over product labeling, quality and environmental concerns.

FilterForGood's website allows consumers to make a pledge to switch to a reusable water bottle filled with filtered tap water. Every purchase of a $10 refillable bottle — which are made by Nalgene — generates a $4 donation, up to $25,000, toward the Blue Planet Run Foundation. The non-profit's goal involves providing safe drinking water to 200 million people by 2027.

"The FilterForGood pledge gives people the opportunity to take action to protect the earth without having to change their lifestyle substantially," says Josh Dorfman, author of "The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide to Easy, Stylish, Green Living" (May 2007). "Refilling our own personal water bottle with filtered water from the tap requires far less energy and wastes almost no resources relative to bottled water -- an easy thing to accomplish with potentially big results."

Brita and Nalgene claim the average Brita pitcher filters 240 gallons of water a year at roughly 19 cents per day. By comparison, it would cost nearly $5 per day for more than 1,800 16.9-ounce water bottles to equal the same amount.

Using a refillable bottle avoids the environmental impact from single use water bottles because of the low recycling rate and the oil used to make the plastic and transport the finished product, the companies said. The oil it took to make the 50 billion plastic water bottles used in the U.S. in 2006 could fuel 100,000 cars for a year.

Yet some studies suggest that bottled water is not superior to tap, and some brands, such as Aquafina and Dasani, actually use tap water, albeit more purified versions. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates in a 1999 report that quarter or more of all bottled water is just tap water. This is now reflected on the Aquafina bottle labels.

Several cities, including San Francisco and Salt Lake City, outlawed municipal departments from buying bottled water, prompting the International Bottled Water Industry to launch a public relations campaign to protect the industry's image.

Taking out advertisements in the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month, the trade group argued that water — despite its source — is vital for a healthy lifestyle. It also lauded the need for bottled water during natural disasters.

More on this topic