Cold water in a glass always tastes better, do you agree?
I did not set out to live a plastic free life. I was just tired of having half empty water bottles at home from a bad habit I had of bringing one to the gym and only consuming half of it. I would bring the bottle back and it would sit on the table half empty. In addition, every time I had to take out our recycling bin to the curb, I would get frustrated because any whisper of a wind would send empty bottles flying down the street in addition to our bin being completely full of plastic water bottles that there was no room for other recyclables.
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So from that frustration, I convinced my husband to stop buying cases of water from Costco. We moved to purchase instead a water dispenser and 5 gallon refillable water jugs. OK, this was a step in the right direction, but it still required the transportation of water and the use of water in plastic. Not ideal! I purchased glass water bottles wrapped in silicone because I thought it would ensure the water quality would remain the same. The problem was that the bottles were too heavy to carry around and warmed up the water too quickly. We stuck with the 5 gallon jugs and dispenser for a few years anyways. I considered getting a Brita, which I've used in the past before but never went through with it because I didn't want to buy another thing.
When we finally moved out of our apartment, I researched the water quality reports of our new city and found that the water was OK, but I didn't like the taste. I've been seeing a lot of people talking good things about using the Kishu charcoal filter and after much research, I knew I wanted to transition to this method. I only had to purchase the filter. I re-used an old drink dispenser that I had used for sangria (those were the days!) to store the water.
On the first day after letting the filter do it's thing for a few hours, I asked 4 people in my family to taste test. I brought 2 glasses of water in the same glasses and at the same temperature. Unanimously, all four family members described and chose the water that had the Kishu charcoal filter on it as being smoother. So finally, I am now able to say that we are now drinking water filtered without any use of plastic. Yay!
So what exactly is this Kishu charcoal water filter?
Kishu is activated charcoal made from oak tree branches. It is made of a naturally derived substance from the earth. It needs to be re-activated once a month by heating it in hot water and completely drying it out. It's life span is around 4 months, after which, it can be re-used as a an odor absorber in the refrigerator and can be composted in the end. So zero waste technically.
I ordered this from Amazon because I couldn't find a store around me that carried it. While it came in a much larger box than I expected (I submitted a packaging review to Amazon), everything else about how it was packaged can be considered sustainable. The clear sleeve is made of 100% compostable material and the cardboard box can be recycled.
So today, it sits on the counter looking lovely. No plastic touching the water at all. I did end up purchasing a Klean Kanteed Insulated bottle to replace the glass ones and this is what I would recommend. The bottle I have goes everywhere with me. It has made it to Machu Picchu, The Philippines, Istanbul and so many other cities and countries. I like that it keeps water cold and leaves no weird taste. You'll find that I talk a lot about this water bottle on many other posts. It's got a few dents on it, so it's a well used bottle.
The Kishu Charcoal is an approved product. It meets sustainability requirements.
Why is this Important?
You might think it's a little silly to think so much about this, but our reliance on plastic is causing harm to our environment and health. Plastic never composts, it just biodegrades into small pieces which end up in our oceans and in our fish. In addition, plastic is an artificial substance which leaks toxins so while many of us care so much of eating pesticide free, organic food, many of us still ingest harmful chemicals via food stored in plastic. It's counter-intuitive. Recycling is also not the real solution as unfortunately not all plastics are recycled. With the price of oil at its lowest, recycling is sometimes the costly option. While living a plastic free life may be impossible to some, every little bit helps. The infographic below shows the true effects of using plastic water bottles. It's from 2013, but the impact remains the same, perhaps the number are greater today.