Written by Christel Schultz
Phasing plastic out of the home…
Eliminating plastic from our daily lives is ideal in theory, but putting that into practice can be difficult and costly. It’s reasonable to think that all of us can make a difference if we take at least one step in the right direction, though. Based on the products used and consumed in our home, we decided the kitchen would be the most effective area to begin swapping out items and learn to discipline ourselves – to refuse certain things that have become second nature to use once and throw away. We’re in the process of exchanging several commonly used items in our kitchen for their more sustainable, non-plastic counterparts, starting with our water filter, water pitcher/dispenser, personal drinking bottles, and straws. I’m happy to share that there are lots of alternatives out there to facilitate the transition!
Filtered water is a way of life for us, and I love knowing that I can have a reusable bottle filled with water from home or filtered on the go almost anywhere the day takes me. Many water filters are created with plastic; however, and a filtration system in our home simply would not meet our needs, so I wanted other alternatives that did not include plastic components.My favorite find is the bamboo charcoal water filter. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable natural products on our planet, it’s very porous, and the charcoal has remarkable filtering qualities. It also leaches beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium back into the water it filters. Bamboo charcoal water filters are available in various sizes, for use in personal bottles or family water jugs, and they’re capable of removing a number of impurities in solid and gas form. However, pathogens cannot be removed by bamboo charcoal, so do not rely on them to filter creek or river water.
The life of any bamboo charcoal filter is based on its size, the volume of water it is designed to filter, and the concentration of substances in the water it is being used to filter. Specifications for the different sizes of bamboo charcoal filters are typically provided on supplier websites, but generally speaking, the charcoal should be changed out every four weeks to maintain optimal filter condition. Consult and follow the directions provided with your choice of bamboo charcoal for the best results! I find Miyabi bamboo charcoal to have great reviews, ample information on the website, convenient product size, and reasonable prices through various merchants.In my experience, the best tasting filtered water comes from a glass or stainless steel container with a lid. I want to avoid plastic containers in the disposable and reusable form, so the better taste makes these options even more attractive. You can repeatedly filter in the same container you drink from, or transfer the water to another jug to insure continued availability of great drinking water! Either way, a lid prevents the water from being tainted and preserves the taste. The Sansone Stainless Steel Water Dispenser Fusti products are highly recommended, come in a variety of sizes, contain no plastic and simply look classy doing what they do. Visit the Watercheck.biz website for a number of dispenser options and all sorts of water lover stuff – rain barrels, fountains, wood-fired hot tubs, and a bunch more – AND they donate a portion of revenues to water sustainability projects! I strongly encourage support for businesses that give back!Another major source of plastic pollution is the disposable straw. I tend to keep and reuse straws from restaurants or convenience stores in my home and on the go, especially with the huge volume of reusable cups in my cupboard. I probably use straws more than anyone I know, and though it didn’t seem like a bad thing with my inventory of insulated cups, there is that plastic issue again! Regardless of the cup, the straws eventually wear out, get bent or cracked, and must be thrown out. Millions of straws are used and discarded each day, and based on the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup reports, plastic straws consistently make the top 10 list of items recovered from our seas and beaches. Stainless steel or bamboo straws are now widely available to replace plastic straws! These straws provide the perfect alternative to this common piece of plastic trash that keeps making its way to our waters! We can’t continue adding to the plastic pollution problem, so let’s be part of the solution!