I’ve wanted to get my hands on a SodaStream since as early as I could remember – I’m pretty sure I asked for one on my Christmas list regularly as a kid. Along with a Mr Frosty machine, which I finally got, used about twice and it spent the rest of my childhood hiding away in the cupboard.
My wishes were finally granted when I was offered my very own SodaStream machine to help me take part in their (pretty big) challenge of cutting down on my plastic bottle usage. Around 7 million litres of plastic bottles of water are bought each day in the UK. That fact definitely blew my mind a little. And the average British household throws away 500 single-use plastic bottles every year – around 44% of these are not recycled. Many of these end up in waterways, rivers and oceans, causing water pollution, ruining nature’s loveliest beauty spots and threatening marine life. Which is totally rubbish, literally.
As part of World Oceans Day’s ‘Wave for Change’ campaign, SodaStream have been encouraging us all to look at how much plastic bottle waste we create, and trying to reduce this amount. With my SodaStream ready in the kitchen, I embarked on my own plastic bottle usage challenge…
Week 1 – Counting the bottles
I am, most definitely, a bit of a Pepsi Max Cherry addict. You know how most people have a morning coffee? I have a morning can of the Cherry stuff. I know, I know – sugar free drinks are still v. bad for you but sometimes I just need that fizz to wake me up. Sorry, body.
The first step of the challenge was to spend a week logging my consumption of single-use plastic bottles (and cans). Here were my results…
Small bottles: 8 (a mixture of water, a Lucozade and some Cherry Pepsi Max)
Large bottles: 2 (both Cherry Pepsi Max. Eep)
Cans: 4 (all Diet Coke)
One thing the first week made me realise is that I drink a LOT more sugar-free fizzy drinks than I thought. I always make sure they make it into the recycle bin – but I realise it’d be even better for the environment, not to mention my own health and finances, if I wasn’t buying them in the first place.
Week 2 – Going (almost) plastic bottle free
In case you haven’t encountered a SodaStream (were you THERE in the 90s?!), in a nutshell, they carbonate basic tap water and make it into sparkling water – which you can then add squash or other flavourings to, creating your very own flavoured water drinks. The machine is super easy to use, and the robust PET bottle is great for taking out and about with you.
Here are the results of my plastic bottle and can count for week two…
Small bottles: 1 (I forgot to take my SodaStream PET out with me and ended up buying some Lucozade Sport)
Large bottles: 1 (a squash bottle that lasted me the entire week)
Cans: 2 (in my defence – one was left over in my office from the previous week, and one was a beer!)
As you can see from the very reduced numbers, having the SodaStream made a huge difference to my plastic bottle usage. I won’t lie – it was actually pretty tough for me not to automatically head in for a bottle of Pepsi Max Cherry in the shop on my way to the train station every morning.
As well as the impact on reducing my waste, there were a few other benefits from improving my water consumption. I definitely noticed a difference in my hydration levels – after about three days, I seemed to feel less sluggish in the mornings and my usually annoyingly dry lips needed less lip balm than usual. There’s also the financial benefit – a large bottle of squash cost me £1.50 from Tesco and lasted the week – so based on buying a small bottle of soft drink (£1) and a can (60p) a day, I can save around £6.50 in a working week. That’s £26 a month (a new dress), £234 in nine months (a festival ticket) or £312 in a year (a weekend city break).
All that you need to buy is gas cylinger refills for the SodaStream, which are just £9.99 when you return your empty cylinder. Each cylinder makes around 60l of sparkling water – which works out at under 17p per litre. Definitely a LOT cheaper than shop bought drinks! Plus, if I carried on using only the amount of plastic bottles I used in my second week, I’d be using 416 less plastic bottles a year. That’s a pretty big difference for just one person to make.
Although I don’t think I’ve been completely driven away from my favourite drinks, the whole challenge has definitely made me reconsider what I’m drinking. The SodaStream PET bottle is the perfect size to take to work with me – the fizzy water and squash mixture is enough to last most of the day. And I can top it up with tap before I leave the office for on-the-go hydration, without having to buy bottled water when I’m out and about.
What are your thoughts on plastic bottle usage? Do you think you could cut down on yours too?
*I was sent a SodaStream machine to take part in this challenge. As usual, all thoughts are my own.