This Q&A originally appeared in WQP May 2020 issue as "Workplace Water Consumption"
WQP Associate Editor Cristina Tuser interviewed Casey Taylor, CEO for Waterlogic Americas, regarding a new report on global workplace water consumption produced by Waterlogic from a survey of more than 6,300 respondents. The report found workers are happier and feel more productive when employers provide better drinking water facilities. Tuser and Taylor discussed point-of-use (POU) systems in commercial applications, corporate culture and more.
Cristina Tuser: How can water dealers use the results of the study as a sales tool to promote the use of POU systems in commercial applications?
Casey Taylor: Anyone involved in the industry has an opportunity to leverage this data, recognizing that utilization of bottle-less filtered water is desirable and beneficial to the health of individuals and the planet. The survey clearly points to the demand employees place on high quality hydration in the workplace and the expectation that employers should do more to reduce single-use plastic. Dealers can use this powerful tool to establish a conversation around the benefits of bottle-less systems and the part they play in solving both their employees’ hydration needs and their environmental concerns.
Tuser: The report discusses joint responsibility; what strategies can be implemented in a corporate culture?
Taylor: We all have a responsibility to deliver a reduction in single-use plastic and the workplace is a major forum for doing this. Employers can encourage their employees to hydrate responsibly by providing access to trustworthy and great-tasting water that their employees actually want to drink. Alongside access, education plays a role in adoption and there are many communication opportunities a company can utilize to encourage a culture of good eco-friendly hydration.
For instance, a simple strategy might be to provide or incentivize the use of reusable drinking bottles to remove single-use plastic from the workplace. This small but significant step will help businesses make a positive contribution to the plastic crisis as well as encourage employees to stay hydrated with superior filtered, purified water.
Tuser: Similarly, how can water dealers become a part of the conversation?
Taylor: Dealers are water industry experts and they play an important role in ensuring customers have the right drinking water solutions for their employees.
Tuser: Any predictions for the future of water filtration in the workplace?
Taylor: We see a continued reduction in the use of bottled water, both single-use and bottled water coolers, with a migration to filtered solutions. The quality of filtered solutions will become increasingly important, with end users demanding higher standards as it becomes their go-to option for workplace refreshment and filling reusable bottles on the go. Access will be provided by a variety of solutions based on user needs, from freestanding bottleless dispensers, sparkling water, and even extra-hot options in workplaces, to bottle filling stations and fountains in public areas.
Tuser: Where do single-use plastic bottles stand as the integration of more environmentally conscious alternatives become more normalized?
Taylor: We are already seeing a significant reduction in the use of single-use plastic bottles in favor of more sustainable choices, but there is some way to go. The survey reported that 76% of U.S. respondents still use single-use plastic in the workplace. At an individual level, it is about adopting the reusable bottle as a “can’t-leave-home-without” accessory, like a cell phone. For employers, it is about doing more to provide access to good quality water. With both of these conditions met, the consumption of water from single-use plastic bottles can become a thing of the past.