Save Money, Save The Planet: As Seen in Indy Chamber's Catalyst magazine - Fall 2011
Dec 12, 2011 03:07PM
By Nancy Caniff
As Seen in Indy Chamber's Catalyst magazine - Fall 2011
When it comes to making a profound impact on both the environment and on our personal finances, there is one simple action that’s hard to beat.
We can stop buying bottled water. It’s far more expensive than water purified at home or obtained from a local artesian well. And when we stop purchasing bottled water, we can offer a grand gift to Mother Earth because we won’t be adding to the billions of plastic water bottles already clogging landfills.
According to Recycling-Revolution.com, Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, with the vast majority of those empty containers winding up in landfills. With the emphasis on drinking eight glasses of water per day, water bottles account for a huge portion of those non-recycled containers.
To save our money and the planet simultaneously, there are plenty of solutions available. In the purify-your-own-water category, pitcher systems (such as Brita and Pur) can be purchased. They’re inexpensive and easy to find at America’s favorite discount stores. Zerowater, another pitcher system for water filtration, even comes with a meter for measuring TDS (total dissolved solids) in drinking water, before and after filtration. When we exchange bottled water for water from a pitcher system, financial savings can usually be realized in a few weeks.
For those who want more elaborate water purification systems, there are an increasing number of options. They typically require a larger monetary investment than simple pitcher systems, but over time, they, too, are more cost-effective than purchasing bottled water.
These systems include reverse osmosis systems, which are considered to be highly effective at removing water contaminants, and water ionizers, which filter tap water and separate it into two streams: an alkaline stream and an acid stream. Ionizer users drink the alkaline water (which helps to maintain a proper Ph balance in the body) and discard the acid water or use it for cleaning purposes. In the last few years, some manufacturers have begun to combine reverse osmosis purification with the ionization process in the same machine. And a few manufacturers even make portable, non-electric versions of these combos.
For those who prefer to get clean water directly from Mother Nature herself, there are still artesian wells to be found and many are open to the public. Such wells provide fresh, spring water that is free of chlorine and other ingredients commonly found in municipal tap water.
One of Indiana’s best known artesian wells is located in the greater Indianapolis area. It’s Flowing Well Park in Carmel, on 116th Street, West of Hazel Dell Parkway and East of Gray Road.
People stream into the small, 18-acre park day and night, often with trunks or vans full of empty plastic jugs to be filled with the well’s water. While most visitors are from Central Indiana, it’s not uncommon to finnd artesian water enthusiasts who drive in from other states.
Flowing Well offers six spigots, so numerous containers can be filled simultaneously. A sign urges users to be sure not to touch the spigots with their hands, containers or other objects. Likewise, pets are not permitted to drink from the spigots. There’s occasionally a wait to fill jugs with the ever-flowing water, but many visitors encounter no delays at all.
The parking area is located close to the well, so the distance for hauling those full jugs of water to vehicles is minimal. The well area even has a roof over it to protect both visitors and the well’s water from the rain.
Flowing Well’s water is free, although donations are gladly accepted. The park is maintained by the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Department and the water’s cleanliness/safety is monitored each month by the state.
Those who frequently fill up with nature’s own H2O say they like Flowing Well’s taste or lack thereof. Some even comment that Flowing Well’s artesian spring water tastes better than bottled water. Countless visitors happily declare that they use the water for their gardens, their pets and more.
Almost everyone who makes it to Flowing Well delights in the amazing freebie from Mother Earth. And many of those enthusiasts are also aware that their abstinence from bottled water is a perfect way of thanking her.