by Mary Logan Barmeyer
We’ve heard again and again that it’s time to kick the plastic water bottle habit and head back to the tap. Despite evidence that our tap water is highly regulated and just as safe as bottled, news about pharmaceuticals and chemicals in drinking water or pipes that may contain lead, or even just bad tasting tap, can make us wary of getting our water straight from the faucet. Although most water filters can’t eliminate every contaminant, they can help reduce them. But are unrecyclable water filters any better for the environment than recyclable plastic bottles? Not if you can recycle them.
Zero Technologies recently launched a recycling program for filters, the only program of its kind in the country. Ninety percent of the materials in its ZeroWater filters are recyclable–even the filter media are recycled for use in wastewater-treatment plants–and they can be shipped back to the company in their original packaging in exchange for a discount on replacements. (Zero is also one of the only companies to offer filter bottles made of glass, although the ABS plastic used in their other products has been tested to ensure no chemicals leach out).
ZeroWater’s carbon and ion-exchange filter reduces dissolved solids in water down to zero parts per million, which you can test with a total dissolved solids (TDS) meter that comes with the filter. The filters are also NSF certified to remove lead, chlorine taste and odor, mercury, hydrogen sulfide, chromium, aluminum, zinc and iron.
But remember, you may not need a water filter at all. Your annual Consumer Confidence Report, which you can get through your water supplier, will tell you about local water quality, and if you’re worried about lead in your pipes, check with your health department or contact a specialist to test your household water.
ZeroWater filters are available online at www.zerowater.com. Half-gallon pitchers are $39.99, and larger 2.5 gallon bottles are $119.99 for glass or $99.99 for plastic.