Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Addiction -- Carbonated Water

Be forewarned: This post is going to come off as a product endorsement, and maybe it is, but I'm thrilled with a new home soda maker I purchased a few weeks ago and think it's worth knowing about if you're paying for high-priced mineral water.

If you've visited this blog before you may have read the entry on water (see 8 Glasses a Day Advice Doesn't Hold Water, posted May 1, 2008). My wife and I started drinking juice diluted with water a few years ago, shifting to sparkling mineral water to make it a little more interesting. Recently, while taking all of our recycling bins to the curb, I reflected on the massive bin of mineral water bottles, most of which had traveled half-way around the world (Gerolsteiner and San Pelligrino being our two favorites).

So much for reducing my carbon footprint by biking!

Following a little research on the web I came across a company called Soda Club ( They make home carbonation machines, and there are remarkably few companies that seem to compete with them. Because I'm concerned about the petrochemicals associated with plastic bottles I had to suck it up and pay for the more expensive glass bottle carbonator.

When it first arrived, Ethan (our 8-year old pre-engineering student) wanted to assemble it. Fortunately it's quite a simple unit. It's all mechanical (no electricity required) and consists essentially of a large CO2 cartridge which screws into the base. A bottle of regular tap water (or filtered water if you prefer) is simply placed inside the unit, and the carbonation jet is brought down on top of it. You pump a lever a few times, and voila! Soda water!

Now, some people prefer mineral water because it actually possesses minerals, and some because they prefer the flavor. Since I take my vitamins every day, and because I mix the water with juice any way, this machine is perfect.

Many others purchase these devices to save money on soda. Soda Club offers a wide variety of syrups and sends you a package of samples. I drink the water because I want a healthy alternative to soda so I don't typically purchase these, but simply mix soda water with a little fruit juice.

Of course, the company does require you to purchase their proprietary CO2 replacement cartridges through them, but that seems fair enough. It's still a lot cheaper (by my estimate, at least 75% less than bottled water) and much more environmentally friendly.

So, if you drink a lot of mineral water and want to a) reduce your carbon footprint and b) save money, you should consider buying a home carbonation system. Finally, if you know of other companies offering these products please tell me.

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