The basic idea of not buying water that has been transported in bottles has already floated by, in this post about frozen juice concentrate. But transporting water by putting it in bottles or cans and moving those bottles or cans by truck is so inefficient and so expensive, it deserves another post. This time the topic is iced tea.
I don’t recall bottled or canned iced tea being available until around 1990. Before then, iced tea was one of those things (like salad) that everyone made at home. Of course, people will pay $$$ for convenience of iced tea in a can or bottle, ready to drink … and other people will save $$$ by giving themselves the job of making their own iced tea.
It isn’t hard to make iced tea. I make mine in the refrigerator overnight. Before I go to bed, I combine a tea bag, ice, and water in a water bottle (e.g., a Nalgene or similar). Allow to steep overnight in the refrigerator. Before drinking, add sugar or lemon juice to your taste.
Bottled, canned, or fast-food iced tea costs around $1 per serving, sometimes more than twice that if you get it retail. My refrigerator-brewed iced tea costs less than 10¢ if made with bargain tea bags (Lipton or Tetley), maybe a bit more if made with premium tea (Constant Comment is my favorite). Of course, even premium tea can be bought in quantity to keep the cost down.
Make your own tea, take it with you to work or as you run errands. Save about $1 or more per serving, depending where you don’t buy ready-to-drink iced tea.
Before work, I usually make a two-quart jar of tea (using 2 teabags) and if the weather is warm I drink the entire 2 quarts during the workday. Canned iced tea, in 12-oz cans, currently costs $1.25 per can from the vending machine at work. My two-quart jar is the equivalent of more than 5 cans, which would cost $6.25.