As an early Earth Day review…
If you don’t have one of these, you should. There are plenty of people who will tell you to just drink from the tap, but I think they are usually undiscerning in their taste. On the other had, having water shipped from Fiji, no matter what good it is doing for the Fijian economy in the short run, is ruining that corner of the earth, and all the other corners as well.
Besides, there is something very cool about doing basically what you are paying the bottled water company to do: pulling water from the tap and filtering it. We’ve lived only in rental apartments and houses, and installation is simple. It leaks, but so what. Replacement filters are expensive, but way less than buying bottled water. How often you have to replace depends on where you are–we’ve had to do replacements far more frequently in New York City, despite having the cleanest water in the world. I suspect that this is because we are in a pre-War building, with pre-War plumbing, and the particulate matter is plentiful and filter-clogging.
We switched to a Pur filter when we lived in Seattle, about a decade ago. We got three glasses and marked them: bottled (which we were drinking), tap, and Pur. The idea was that if the Pur didn’t hold up, we would return the filter to Costco and keep getting bottled. My partner and I both chose the Pur filtered water as the best tasting in a blind taste-test. We didn’t care much about other people’s taste tests, it tastes better to us.
Now, we still bought bottled water, either San Pelligrino or Poland Springs, because I like fizzy water (con gas!), and have since I was a kid. Luckily, thanks to Santa Clause, I now get to make bubbly water at home too. This not only saves money, and saves the environment, it saves my back. I no longer have to carry bubbly water from the grocery store to my flat.
The pictured SodaStream (the Penguin) is more expensive than their other models, and not necessarily better, just fancier looking. But even with the less expensive version, the economic model isn’t as favorable as with filtering your water. I still think it winds up being significantly cheaper for us. There is a nice discussion on this over in the comments at Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools, which has always been one of my favorite blogs. (They are actually hiring a part-time editor, right now, and I’d be tempted, if I weren’t so busy!)
So, that should mean we never buy bottled water, right? Well, it should. I’m still lazy, and buy flats of water for work, as does my partner. I think we need to buy some bottles that will hold up to repeated filling (Fiji?), and be more proactive about packing them out to recycle at home. Wash them out with high-proof rum. Or I could get a flat from Tap’d.
Eventually, I’ll have to design my own label, and sell my hand-crafted filtered water to the gullible masses.