07 November 2009 ~ 0 Comments

Make your own soda – the fun GREEN way

By Lori Bongiorno

Originally Posted Thu Dec 18, 2008 9:37am PST

We all know that replacing bottled water with tap water is good for the environment. But are there any planet-friendly alternatives for sparkling water and soda? Yes. If you’re willing to invest in a soda maker, you can easily turn tap water into seltzer and soda at home.

The prospect of making homemade soda may sound daunting since many of us struggle to get dinner on the table. I also wondered if a soda maker would be yet another barely-used appliance. So, I rounded up a bunch of neighborhood kids and tried out one of Soda Club’s Sodastream beverage carbonators.

The whole process literally took a few minutes. The most time-consuming part was negotiating which flavors to choose.

Here’s how it works: Fill up a reusable carbonating bottle with water. Screw it into the machine. Push a lever to carbonate. When it’s done fizzing, add concentrated flavored syrups to make soda or jazz up seltzer water with fruit flavors.

The sodas tasted like store-bought brands, the seltzer had just enough fizz, and it was a fun Saturday afternoon activity. For those who regularly drink carbonated beverages, making them at home seems like a reasonable enough option.

There’s a long list of environmental benefits. The most obvious is that there are no bottles or cans to throw away or recycle. It’s a great way to cut back on packaging, which takes resources and energy to make. Bottles and cans won’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to reach you. Each machine operates on the power contained in the compressed gas carbonators so it doesn’t use electricity or batteries.

You’ll also ultimately end up saving money. It costs about 20 cents to make a liter of seltzer and a little more for soda. Your up-front investment depends on which Sodastream you choose. Take a look at thiscomparison chart.

The differences between the Fountain Jet ($79.99) and Pure ($129.99) versions are mostly aesthetic. The Pure has a stainless-steel finish instead of plastic. Both come with two reusable BPA-free plastic carbonating bottles that typically last about three years. They’re not dishwasher safe so you have to be willing to hand wash. If you want glass bottles, choose the Penguin ($199.99).

Each starter package includes two carbonators. Just send one back to the company in a pre-paid shipping box when it runs out of gas (after making about 60 liters of drinks). They’ll clean, refill, and reuse it.

You can buy machines and supplies directly from Soda Club. Some models are also available on Amazonand Williams-Sonoma.
Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green’s users. Send Lori a question or suggestion for potential use in a future column. Her book, Green Greener Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-smart Choices a Part of Your Life is available on Yahoo! Shopping and Amazon.com.