Biodegradable Water Filters: Eliminate Plastic Bottle Use With Compostable Faucet Filters

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Sponsored Article: Brought to You by TAPP Water

When it comes to water, perception is everything. Across the globe, people mistakenly believe that bottled water is safer than tap water. If you worry that your faucet is dangerous, it’s time to explore a new generation of biodegradable water filters that will reduce the chances of contamination. But, don’t worry, water systems in much of the world are generally safe, clean, and deliver a refreshing drink.

Water worries can be well-founded in isolated cases, but too often people turn to bottled water instead of the faucet when thirsty. U.S. households that consider their tap water unsafe spend $5.65 billion annually on bottled water, according to research by the University of California Los Angeles. Unfortunately, bottled water costs between 300 and 2,000 times more than water flowing from the tap.

TAPP 2 Click faucet filter

TAPP 2 Click faucet filter with biodegradable refills and largely compostable water filter body

The $16 billion bottled water industry is responsible for many of consumers’ doubts about their tap water. That industry is quick to point out that it spent only $24 million on advertising in 2014, but the social and news coverage of water system issues — such as those in Flint, Michigan, and Northern California — where perchlorates were discovered in drinking water reservoirs, create ongoing doubts about water safety that drive unnecessary bottled water purchases.

“We should all know more about water since it makes up 60 percent of our bodies,” said Magnus Jern, chief water drinker at TAPP Water, which recently introduced a biodegradable faucet water filter. “It’s the thing we consume most and we wouldn’t survive without it. In fact, most people know more about coffee than water.”

Water Reality

Bottled water is not consistently safer than tap water. As we reported in April, researchers at the State University of New York analyzed 259 bottled water samples from 11 different brands distributed in nine countries, finding microplastics in more than 90 percent. These tiny fragments and strands of plastic have become a ubiquitous pollutant that is not fully understood by science.

Single-use plastic water bottles are an even larger problem. More than 17 million barrels of oil are required to make all the water bottles used in the United States annually. Compounding the carbon impact of all that oil is the fact that almost a third of plastic bottles produced annually — 24.9 million tons — end up in the ocean.

If you don’t like the taste or smell or your water, a faucet water filter or filtered water pitcher will remove the impurities, including chlorine, fluoride, and pesticides. Unfortunately, many of the water filtering options on the market today include plastics that will not break down in a landfill for centuries. But a new generation of faucet filters is coming to market with biodegradable components.

Buying or making an environmentally friendly water filter is a more affordable and healthier option than bottled water. Here are four options to save your sanity while keeping more money in your wallet.

Choose a Biodegradable Filter

Home water filtering is well-established. Brita and Culligan water pitchers, which use replaceable filters, can be equipped with third-party bio-degradable filters. It is important to replace these drop-in filters to reduce contamination.

As the pitcher is used, the replaceable filter becomes saturated with the materials it removes. After approximately two months, the filter needs to be replaced. Brita suggests replacing its standard filter after two months.

Make a green choice in filters. Soma and Flowpure make compostable replacement filters for Brita and Culligan pitchers. These are a good alternative to plastic-based filters that do not break down quickly.

Go Bamboo

Go a different direction and try putting bamboo activated charcoal in your water pitcher or bottle. Bamboo charcoal water tastes excellent. The charcoal absorbs the impurities in the water, including chlorine, pesticides, and ammonia, and can be used for up to four weeks, according to Miyabi Charcoal.

However, this approach does take several steps to get the charcoal ready for use. You must rinse the charcoal pieces, boil them for five minutes, and then dry them out before use. Then, just drop the chunks in your water and wait for an hour. Refill and reuse for a month and toss the waste in your compost pile. They’ll also work as a soil supplement.

Make Your Own

Tap your DIY instincts to make your own water filter. It’s not as hard as it sounds.

These filters use sand, gravel, and activated charcoal to filter water using gravity. OneGreenPlanet has useful instructions about making a water filter from a bucket. Simply cut a hole for a food-grade spigot, which is available from Amazon or other sites, layer in the charcoal, sand, and gravel, and let gravity do the rest.

It’s also possible to replace the ingredients in a Brita filter, which involves replacing the charcoal in the filter. Check out the instructions at Food-Hacks.

Upgrade to a Biodegradable Water Filter

TAPP Water, a London-based company, has introduced the first biodegradable faucet water filters. They are easy to install, screwing onto any standard faucet, and bring a fun blend of technology and information to your water experience. This water filter will start conversations — it generates data about water use and much more that will tune you into the details of your water life.

TAPP Water's MYTAPP app

TAPP Water’s MYTAPP app tracks water usage, carbon footprint, and savings, including plastic bottles saved by using filtered water.

Both TAPP filters provide two-micron filtering, which will remove more than 80 substances, such as chlorine, microplastics, lead, and other impurities, without screening out the minerals that make water taste good — minerals that your body needs.

Two versions of the device are available in the U.S., priced from $49 to $59. Both faucet filters use carbon-block components made from organic coconut shell. Compostable filters must be replaced after three months. The company offers an annual subscription that delivers replacement filters for a full year for $60.

TAPP Water’s TAPP 2 Twist is made from 74 percent biodegradable/compostable plastic and 24 percent inert material that does not break down and does not result in ocean pollution. The TAPP 2 Twist uses a mechanical calendar — twist it to start the timer, which indicates when it is time to change filters.

The TAPP 2 Click is an ingenious device that connects via Bluetooth to iPhone and Android phones. TAPP Water provides an app, MYTAPP, that tracks water usage, calculating your cost savings, your water CO2 footprint, and provides alerts when the filter needs changing. As a bonus, MYTAPP also provides maps and direction to water refill stations when you are away from home.

When finished with a TAPP, it can be put with compostable material and will break down in a few months in an industrial compost facility. The body of the TAPP faucet filter is not biodegradable, but you can use it for at least three years before replacement and the material is recyclable with the Bluetooth chip removed.

“We’ve spent four years on research and development for TAPP 2,” Jern said. “The core idea behind TAPP 2 is to provide an eco-friendly alternative to people who want to live a life with healthy drinking water and less plastic waste.”

Water is the stuff of life. We’re more water than anything else, so it should be the best we can make it. Likewise, it’s time to move on from single-use plastic. If you worry your water isn’t up to snuff, a filter will eliminate most of your worries.

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