When I started living zero waste, one of the most difficult things for me to give up was a water filter. I grew up in Taiwan where filtered water was everybody’s to-go water source, so I was really used to drinking purified or filtered water. Tap water has a weird taste I still can’t get over, so I relied heavily on my Brita filter. Unfortunately, those filters go straight to the landfill so they aren’t very sustainable. But they do do a good job of making the tap water taste much better, in my opinion.
So I started on a search for a sustainable alternative for a water filter. My requirements were: it has to be affordable, long-lasting, and uses a glass pitcher of some sort.
I found a water filter that fits all 3 of my criteria. I found out that the stuff in Brita filters that do the filtering is called activated charcoal, and I did more research and realized that most of the water filters out there use activated charcoal. This might be why sometimes when you pour water out of your Brita filter, you see black specks in your water.
The water filter that I ended up purchasing and have been using for the past few months is called Kishu Charcoal. It is basically an oak tree branch that has been made into activated charcoal. You simply put it into a pitcher of your choice (I use a glass one that I bought from IKEA) and wait for the magic to happen. It does take a few hours for the water to get completely filtered, so I typically drink the entire pitcher of water and filter it overnight. The Kishu charcoal stick lasts about 4 months. After that, you can boil it for a few minutes to refresh it and continue using it. After 6 months or so, it does lose its ability to properly filter water. At this point, you can compost the filter or stick it in your fridge or stinky shoes to absorb odor.
The packaging is really sustainable. It comes in a cardboard box, and although it is wrapped in a plastic film, that plastic film is actually made from compostable material. So if you are looking for a sustainable alternative to water filters, look no further than this chic and affordable Kishu charcoal filter.