I love the fizzing freshness of seltzer. But I hate buying water, especially if it's in a plastic bottle but even if it's bottled in glass.
Hence my delight at using the Soda Stream, a counter-top sized carbonator made by Soda-Club whose handy CO2 cartridge infuses my water with all the fizziness I want – but none of the throwaway mess.
The fizzer I have comes with a CO2 cartridge and two refillable liter-sized plastic water bottles (other models come with glass carafes). It couldn't be easier to use, and it takes up very little room in my kitchen.
I'm also impressed with the statistics the company offers on the environmental benefits of the product:
Says Soda Club, Americans drink more than 55 billion liters of soda and seltzer each year. That's almost 200 liters — about 600 cans! — for every adult and child in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that adds 10 1/2 cubic feet of packaging per American — over 3 billion cubic feet! — to our landfills and recycling facilities every year.
A family of four could slash their home soft-drink-related packaging usage by over 90% by using a Soda-Club soda maker. Soda-Club's plastic carbonating bottles are reusable for up to three years, and their Penguin glass carbonating carafes will last even longer than that with proper care. A typical American will toss away over 1500 aluminum cans (and/or hundreds of plastic 2-liter bottles) over three years — while a Soda Stream owner will use just one or two reusable carbonating bottles or carafes that come with the home soda maker.
The Soda Stream offers concentrated sodamix syrups that also reduce waste. The company claims a single bottle of sodamix will make 12 liters of soda, the equivalent of 34 cans or six 2-liter bottles. Personally, my family found the sodamixes way too sweet in some cases and medicine-y tasting in others. We prefer to carbonate the water, then add a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was put off by the Soda Stream's $99 price tag and probably would not have bought it had the company not sent me a model to try. I'm a complete convert now. Many different Soda Stream combos are on sale through the holidays, with prices for the simplest option (the one I have) starting at $79.99. If you don't need to buy this nifty product for anyone else, get it for yourself.