Advantages of water filters
Why is the purchase of a water filter useful?
A drinking water water filter saves money! Filtered tap water costs only a fraction of mineral water. While 1 litre of drinking water costs around 0.2 cents on average in Germany (source: Federal Statistical Office), the price of (mineral) water from the supermarket is between 19 and 50 cents/litre (source: Federal Association of the German Beverage Trade). Well-known mineral water brands also offer their bottled water for up to 80 cents per liter, which is 500 times more expensive than tap water. This includes the costs of packaging and transport, which are almost negligible for tap water.
With a daily requirement of 2-3 litres of drinking water per day and person depending on the activity and season, a 4-person household can expect to have almost a 12-item box with 0.7-litre returnable bottles. Even if the cheapest price per litre of 19 cents is taken as a basis, the mineral water of a year with 2 litres per day and head costs a 4-person household 554.80 euros (for a total of 2,920 litres).
In contrast, the cost of a complete set from Alb Filter consisting of a standard filter housing plus cartridge for installation as an under-sink solution, including the most expensive cartridge designed for at least 10,000 litres, is just under 160 euros. In most cases, a solution with a total price of less than 100 Euro is completely sufficient. The comparable drinking water costs for 2,920 litres of tap water would be 0.2 cents/litre at around 5.80 euros. Even if you buy a sparkling water sparkling water for enrichment with carbon dioxide, you still pay a fraction of the cost of the cheapest mineral water boxes. The costs for the purchase and maintenance of the Alb Filter water filter system are thus amortized within a short time. Also the costs for logistics and the transport of the mineral water crates home are eliminated - not to mention the costs for carrying the crates. Your back will thank you for it. Filtered tap water is therefore not only cheaper, but also more convenient to obtain and more environmentally friendly.
Despite the price advantage of tap water: a large proportion (almost 70%) of consumers in Germany prefer to drink (mineral) water in (plastic) bottles and carry it home. 80 percent of these are carbonated mineral waters. The reason: many people apparently do not trust the drinking water hygiene of their tap water or prefer the much more expensive mineral water for reasons of taste or in the opinion that it is healthier for their body. For example, per capita consumption in 2015 was 147.3 litres, and the trend is rising.
Because they are heavier and fragile, the classic reusable glass mineral water bottles have become increasingly rare in recent years and have been replaced by reusable PET bottles and disposable plastic bottles. But (mineral) water in bottles is not very sustainable. Fossil raw materials and energy are consumed both for the production of the (plastic) bottles and for the filling and transport to the retail trade (and from there to the consumer's home). While returnable bottles made of glass or PET plastic can be refilled at least several times, the thin-walled plastic bottles are only used once and then shredded or incinerated in the waste recycling process - even if the consumer pays a deposit. Because a deposit does not mean reusable! Disposable plastic bottles are therefore a particular burden on the environment. Return transport and recycling also worsen the already negative environmental balance.
If a plastic bottle even ends up in nature, it takes about 500 years for it to biodegrade. Irresponsible handling of plastics therefore has fatal consequences for our environment. The waters around the world suffer from the pollution caused by plastic waste, a large proportion of which is plastic bottles.
As consumers we can actively contribute to the preservation of our planet by producing as little plastic waste as possible. For the life cycle assessment of a beverage packaging, the first thing that matters is its reusability. If you don't want to do without your bottled water at all, you should at least make sure that you use regional brands (because of the transport route) with reusable bottles, which are often refilled. A glass bottle, for example, can be refilled up to 50 times, while returnable PET bottles can only make 25 rounds, but they are lighter. This means that they are often rated better in a direct comparison with returnable glass bottles. According to a study by the Federal Environment Agency, a refillable PET bottle consumes about 0.7 kilograms less crude oil per 1,000 litres of fossil fuel. The transport distance also plays an important role in the overall ecobalance. The shorter the distance between the filling location and the consumer, the more favourable it is.
In contrast, the balance of tap water is unbeatably positive. In contrast to mineral water, tap water requires neither packaging nor transport. "People who drink tap water save money, energy and unnecessary packaging, thus helping to protect the climate and doing something good for the environment", explains the Federal Environment Ministry.
In comparison, tap water has a very low CO2 footprint. Although the treatment of drinking water also costs energy, this is relatively low. According to a 2011 study by the Swiss institute ESU Services, imported still mineral water in bottles has up to 1000 times more environmental impact than local tap water. In a comparative calculation, drinking 2 litres of tap water a day for a year is equivalent to driving 2.5 km by car. Drinking 2 litres of imported mineral water a day for one year would be equivalent to a 2070 km drive.
1 litre of local drinking water corresponds to an energy equivalent of 0.0003 l (0.3 ml) crude oil
1 l of regional mineral water in the glass bottle corresponds to an energy equivalent of 0.11 l of crude oil
1 l imported mineral water in a glass bottle corresponds to an energy equivalent of 0.25 l crude oil
The exact height depends on the distance the water has to travel to the end user. In 2009, the certification company GUT determined that tap water and mineral water perform about equally well in terms of extraction and treatment. However, the filling/packaging and transport routes ultimately cause the enormous difference in energy consumption, which is almost 1,000 times higher for imported mineral water. And the import is enormous: in 2014, 1,142.8 million litres of mineral water were imported into Germany.
In addition, the production of the bottles, their cleaning, filling and disposal has a negative impact on the ecological balance.
No more dragging boxes
A beverage crate with 12 glass bottles of mineral water of 0.75 litres each weighs about 17.2 kg, a carrier with 6 PET bottles of mineral water of 1.5 litres each weighs 9.3 kg. If a four-person household consumes a crate of mineral water every day, this amounts to 6.2 tons (with gas bottles) or 3.4 tons (with PET bottles) per year, which have to be carried home from the supermarket or beverage store. Empties must also be returned. Tap water, on the other hand, is delivered to the house without any transport or effort.
It is well known that tastes vary and many consumers do not like their tap water. One reason for this may be residues of disinfectants such as chlorine, which are only used in Germany in very low concentrations and in exceptional cases such as heavy rain etc. On the other hand, old pipes and stagnation pipes can lead to odour and taste impairments. Drinking water filters based on activated carbon reliably remove such impairments. In addition, filtered drinking water can also be mixed with carbon dioxide if required. From a taste and nutritional point of view, there is no difference between filtered tap water and still bottled water. Bottled water is therefore not necessarily tastier or purer.