The “ATM Machine of Bottled Water” – Without the Bottle

Pura Vida H2O logoPura Vida H2O has come out with what it hopes will become the “ATM Machine of Bottled Water”, but without the bottle. The concept is similar to that of EcoWell, a filtered water “vending machine” which we wrote about last year. Basically, anyone wanting water on the go can bring their own reusable bottle and refill it with purified tap water from one of Pura Vida’s filtered water dispensers, for 50 cents – a fraction of what it costs to buy plastic bottled water, and 5 cents less than what EcoWell charges. 450 machines are expected to be up-and-running around the country by mid-summer, and some of them will sell reusable water bottles for $10 to accommodate empty-handed, thirsty patrons.

Pros?

At first glance this sounds like the perfect innovative solution to the problem of plastic bottle waste. The average person saves about $2,100, along with over 1,400 plastic bottles a year by taking advantage of these filtered water dispensers. Simply bring your own reusable water bottle from home, and you’ve got the convenience of bottled water, without the environmental waste.

Cons?

50 cents is a fraction of the cost of your average bottle of water, but it is a LARGE fraction, considering that tap water is regularly tested and costs only half a cent per glass. And if you upgrade from the 16-oz size to the 24-oz size, you’re paying 75 cents instead of 50. While that is about half the cost of a bottle of water, with the added benefit of saving the environment, many people might question the idea of paying that much for water, period, filtered or not. Especially when you can buy a Filtrete Water Station, (a.k.a 4 bottle water filter) which will refill 4 reusable bottles at once, with filtered tap water right from your kitchen sink. These bottles can be stored in your refrigerator, and taken on-the-go, just as easily as a Klean Kanteen, and the cost for water is not nearly as much. The “ATM Machine” concept is also a little unsettling, since ATM’s are typically associated with unreasonable, annoying charges and usage fees.

What do you guys think? Is the Pura Vida concept a good idea? Is 50 cents worth the convenience of filtered water on-the-go? Or would you rather use a Filtrete Water Station and do it yourself for much less?

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