Review: Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Water Filters

IPPINKA's plastic-free, zero-waste (if cardboard is recycled) water filters.   Photo by: Lynn Quire

IPPINKA's plastic-free, zero-waste (if cardboard is recycled) water filters. 

Photo by: Lynn Quire

Review: Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Water Filters ... WHAT?

In Louisville, Kentucky, we are lucky to have some of the best tasting tap water in the world. It has been proven in taste test after taste test! Even Busy Phillips (actress from Dawson’s Creek) said it was the most refreshing, against NYC, Denver and others on the Kelly & Michael Live show in 2015.  Why filter a good thing? With all the plastic needed and such, I just find it to be wasteful, expensive and not needed here.

Then enters Kombucha into my life. If you don't know, it is yummy, fizzy, fermented tea that is supposed to be good for your gut to boot. I was buying this (in glass bottles, of course) far too often. I decided I should be making it. It looked easy enough.  I read that it was suggested to use filtered water. Yikes!  I thought I would have to buy one of those pitchers, with all the plastic and the disposable filters.  I love research and I always look for a better way, just wasn’t sure I would find one, and I knew I would never buy filtered water in plastic jugs.

I already knew those filters with all the plastic had activated charcoal in them, but what I didn’t know was that you could buy charcoal sticks that did the exact same thing. Charcoal Sticks? Don’t they dissolve or disintegrate in water? I didn’t want to be drinking charcoal too. Everything I read seemed to point me in the direction that these were the way to go. I was skeptical but I figured I could break them up and throw them in the garden (as the description said) if they didn’t work. Now...which to get, there were many to choose from. The Portable Kishu Binchotan (Japanese Oak) Charcoal filter seemed to be a great way to start. Two sticks supposedly filters one liter of water, so I gave them a whirl.

When they arrived, they were two burnt sticks packaged in paper wrap inside a cardboard box. It was nice to see the maker take note that if someone is going to be buying these, they may be sustainable and want to see their packaging in the same light. I rinsed and boiled them for 10 minutes, as the directions state and I put one in each of two glass drinking bottles, filled them with water, put the top on and let them sit a couple hours. The directions say 3-4 hours. I was impatient.

I tasted the water in the bottle. Then I took a drink of my regular tap  that I already had. There was a difference. But mine was cold and the bottle was not. I decided to put the bottles in the fridge overnight. The next morning my husband and I tried the filtered bottles. It was good, and tasted much like I remember bottled water tasting like, pretty much nothing, if that makes sense. Marty agreed, but he said he preferred the tap over the filtered. He didn’t like the “no taste” the filtered water had. I can only assume the taste we are used to is mostly chlorine, and the charcoal is said to take that out.

Since I only purchased the two small ones and they seemed to work, I decided to buy some larger ones since it would take more than one liter for my kombucha. I thought I would try a bamboo one. I settled in on the IPPINKA Bamboo Charcoal ones. They come three to a pack and each said it would filter a liter of water. That should be enough, at that time anyway.  They too came wrapped in paper and in a cardboard tube. I like that, as I don’t use them consistently, I can store them between uses.

The bamboo ones worked was well as the Binchotan ones did, but I did notice a bit more residue at the bottom of the glass pitcher I used. They also float, where the sticks sank to the bottom, so keeping them submerged in the water was near impossible. One other downfall is the maker says these are only good for a month of continual usage. I will continue using them until they need to be replaced, but then I will probably purchase the larger Binchotan sticks.

This plastic-free, zero waste option of filtering water has proven to do what it those plastic laden pitchers do, if not better and when I’m done with them, my garden will be all that much better as well. I highly recommend you try them before you buy another plastic bottled water or a disposable filter for your pitcher or faucet.

Let me know if you try one. I'd love to hear what you think!


**I was not paid for this review and I purchased all items, at full price mentioned in this post. The links are affiliate links and we do receive a percentage of any purchases made through them, at no cost to you. These help us fund our zero waste education efforts. Thank you for supporting us!