We drink a lot of sparkling mineral water in our house (usually 8 litres a week) which costs us about £1.60. Aside from the cost it creates a lot of plastic waste – not only four large plastic bottles but also the plastic packaging surrounding the multi-pack we usually buy.
The cost plus the environmental impact made me question if investing in a Soda Stream to make carbonated water would be worth it.
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The cheapest Soda Stream on the UK market at present is the Spirit which comes with one cylinder of gas (which makes 60 litres of carbonated water) and a 1 litre drink bottle.
On Amazon this bundle usually costs north of £80 – which is a not inconsiderable initial outlay – though sales and discount can reduce that price.
- Turn tap water into something truly exciting: Make delicious sparkling water in a matter of seconds - simply with the touch of a button
- Better for you, better for the planet: Keep hydrated and create healthy, delicious soft drinks, cocktails and more at home
- Be the change: Reduce your plastic waste as our fizzy water maker could save you up to 1,282 single-use plastic bottles over 4 years
- Versatile and convenient: Comes with a 1 litre reusable carbonating bottle included, which is BPA free
- Stylish and space saving: The compact sparkling water maker is sleek, chic and cuts out the need to bulk buy carbonated water. Comes with a 2 year guarantee included
To refill a gas cylinder costs around £15 so – setting the cost of the machine aside for a moment – this works out at 25 pence per litre (£15 refill / 60 litres = £0.25 per litre).
Tesco own brand carbonated water is one of the cheapest on the market at £0.45 for 2 litres, so this works out at £0.23 pence per litre.
Therefore it is already cheaper than the Soda Stream version, even without taking the cost of the machine into the equation.
On cost alone the Soda Stream is not worth it. For us it would take the cost of our 8 litres of water up from £1.60 to £2 a week.
Add in the cheapest, most basic Sodastream Fizzi model and you’ve added another £60+ to the total.
However, environmentally by using a Soda Stream we would be saving a lot of plastic – in just one year we use around 208 large plastic bottles (4 bottles of 2l of water every week is 4 x 52 weeks). Ouch!
Soda Stream discount code
If you want to shop direct from SodaStream themselves, we have an exclusive discount offer for you.
Follow this link to their website and by giving them your email address, they’ll ping you back with a 10% off coupon!
Is buying a soda stream ethical?
This is a tough one. Like so many things it can depend on your viewpoint, your politics and where you place those things against your life, shopping and financial choices.
Is sodastream good for the environment?
There are lots of factors at play here so the correct answer is: “It depends.” If you currently drink nothing but collected rainwater, then no buying a SodaStream is not going to decrease your environmental impact.
Are you considering buying a SodaStream (or other fizzy drinks machine) to, like us, replace your environmentally questionable bottled plastic water? In which case, it may be better.
But even that can depend on what you’re currently drinking.
Many consumable food goods when they’re packaged and shipped are dehydrated – they literally have almost all the water removed, then it’s shipped and the water is put back in at the point of delivery.
This is to make it lighter, smaller and considerably cheaper to transport. Shipping 200 tonnes of apple juice is considerably more cost-effective when that 200 tonnes of apple juice can be re-hydrated to make 400 tonnes of apple juice at point of sale.
Obviously with water it’s much harder to do that. So if your bottled water is being transported, even from somewhere comparatively close like the Highlands of Scotland, then that’s adding a lot to the carbon footprint of that bottle of refreshment you have in your fridge.
Where does the CO2 in the refills come from?
According to grist.org the majority of CO2 in the canisters for these counter-top drinks makers, comes as a by-product of industry. Ammonia plants, fertilizer factories, even breweries – anywhere where there’s a fermentation process of sorts – has CO2 as a by-product of their processes.
They capture that CO2 and sell it to manufacturers to put into CO2 canisters, to make your beer or champagne fizzy or in canned soda etc.
In that sense the CO2 you’d be using in your drinks machine is ‘recycled’ or at least being reused.
Yes of course those gas canisters have to be shipped too – but with one canister making around 60 litres of fizzy liquid it’s much more cost effective (and therefore damaging to the environment) to ship one of those than 60 litres of anything.
SodaStream‘s thoughts on their environmental position versus bottled water is pretty clear.
Their Shame or Glory campaign, featuring Game of Thrones stars complete with a woman ringing a bell and chanting “Shame!” as she follows a man who just bought bottled water, put them (perhaps unsurprisingly) in some hot water with the bottled water industry:
Sodastream, israel and the BDS boycott
SodaStream were acquired by Pepsico in late 2018 for about US$3.2bn (that’s a lot of cans of Pepsi!).
Prior to that they were an Israeli owned company – and many of those owners are still involved with the company.
A key SodaStream factory was based in an illegal settlement in Israeli-occupied territory in Palestine.
They have since closed the West Bank factory in 2015. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement claimed this as a victory after encouraging a boycott of SodaStream based on (amongst other things) the West Bank factory.
Despite the factory closure, BDS are still encouraging the boycott, which you may want to factor into your purchasing decisions.
There are alternatives to SodaSteam.
Brands like IBAMA, Aarke and Morphy Richards all make comparable products, which will do more or less the same job:
The issue you may come up against is the replacements and refills.
Some CO2 refill venues can be pretty picky about whose canisters they’ll accept. If you’re thinking about venturing off the well-trodden fizzy drink maker path – you may want to check-up on where you’ll get your refills from first.
Replacement bottles and spares
Another factor is the bottles.
Much as the harder plastic bottles (some models use glass bottles) are more hard wearing the will need replacing, eventually.
All the stresses and strains they’re put through, being packed with gas, decompressed, chilled, warmed up again, chilled again etc. puts strain on the plastic which will, over time, fatigue. So you’ll need replacement bottles.
Replacement SodaStream bottles are easy enough to come by:
If you stray off-stream, you can’t get SodaStream – obviously.
That said, many of the ‘seltzer makers’ will use the same CO2 canisters as each other – but again, worth checking on depending on the model you choose.
If your key aim is to reduce plastic then a Soda Stream would make sense but if you just want to save money then it does not work out cheaper than shop bought carbonated water.
Sadly for fizzy water fans like us probably the best solution to save cash and reduce plastic use is to stop drinking fizzy drinks altogether.
Last update on 2021-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API