Editor’s note: CODEPINK is calling for a boycott of this product because it is “manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements” violating international law.
My family goes through a ton of seltzer and the occasional bottle of soda, so when I had a chance to try Soda-Club’s Sodastream home carbonizer, I couldn’t pass it up. First there was the appeal of stemming the flood of plastic bottles into my recycling bin every week. Then there was the greeniness of using local tap water instead of paying extra (a lot extra) to buy flavored fizzy tap water from somewhere else. And of course, there’s the excitement of having a cool new thing in the kitchen to play with.
So, how did the Soda-Club Sodastream stack up?
Home Made Soda Means No More Plastic Bottles
First things first: no more disposable plastic bottles. Let me say that a little louder: NO MORE DISPOSABLE PLASTIC BOTTLES. My family of four was going through six to eight bottles of seltzer weekly, plus a few sodas here and there. Total after using the Sodastream this week: zero.
The Sodastream model that we tried out came with two reusable plastic bottles that have a lifespan of two years. In two years we’d be going through 600 to 800 disposable plastic seltzer bottles, and maybe a couple hundred plastic soda bottles. Okay, wow, I never bothered to total that up before. Cripes, that’s a lot of plastic.
The carbonizer holds a slim cannister about half the size of a seltzer bottle. That’s reusable, too. When it’s empty, you send it back for a refill.
With Home Made Soda, You Get Options
Our Sodastream came with concentrated soda syrups and flavor essences, so we tried out some of those. The recommended amount of syrup gave us that soda kick without the cloying stickiness of the store bought stuff. If you want soda with a little less sugar, you can add a little less syrup, or use the diet formulas. Or you can use the essences to make seltzer with a nice fruity zing to it.
The Tap Water Taste Test
My New Jersey tap water came out great after a spritz of the ol’ Sodastream. Our home made seltzer tasted very fresh compared to store bought, and so did our soda. That shouldn’t be a suprise. The store bought stuff has been sitting around in plastic bottles for who knows how long.
Kitchen Scientists, Bring it On
If you’ve been dreaming about making your own beer or wine but will never actually get around to doing it, a home carbonizer is an easy way to get your feet wet, home brewingly speaking. You can throw just about anything into carbonized water. So far I tried various juices, home-made blueberry jam, and coffee (sounds gross, but it was so good!!). You can also find recipes for home made soda online, like this one using lavender and lemon.
But Wait – There’s More Green!
Soda-Club’s Sodastream uses no batteries or electricity. That’s good news for us closet coal-burners. We found it quick and easy to set up, and we also appreciated the Styrofoam-free packaging: a cardboard box (recyclable), one small plastic bag the size of a sandwich bag (resusable), and one tiny square of bubble wrap (reusable).
Today Soda, Tomorrow the World
Because it relies on local tap water, the Sodastream concept also reduces energy related to shipping beverages around the country. The same can be said for baby formula, instant coffee and tea, powdered milk, and instant fruit-flavored drinks. Green beer lovers, take heart: somewhere in our sparkly green future, there will be instant beer.
Image: whalesalad at flickr under creative commons.