This is a question we get asked once in a while, so I thought I would give some details on how you can do it, why I think it's not really necessary and what the middle ground is for keeping your filtered water in touch with plastic for the shortest time possible. In this post we will take you through some of our fluoride water filter choices and others without so you can make an informed choice about what's right for you.
Is it possible to filter water without plastic?
Yes. It can be done with a binchotan charcoal stick and a glass bottle or jug and the patience of a saint as it takes several hours for the charcoal to do its work. Charcoal sticks will absorb chemicals in your water, but it won't filter out any 'bits' and it won't remineralise your water. The sticks will do their job for around 3 months and then can be buried and will go back to the earth. If you plan ahead, they will do the job nicely. Whether these are an effective solution will depend on how much water you need to filter per day and how many jugs you have on hand. It is by far the most eco friendly option. (Pictured, Morihata Binchotan Charcoal). If you are looking for fluoride removal (not everyone is), you won't get it with charcoal.
Ceramic Water Filters
If you have the room for a benchtop water filter, the ceramic body filters are the best option. They are not 100% plastic free but they are really really close. We stock the filters from Southern Cross Pottery. At the time of writing this post, they are unavailable for delivery prior to Christmas 2018 but will be more readily available in 2019.
Here's a photo of the actual filter cartridge and the small amount of plastic in it.
The actual filter is ceramic, so there's no plastic there, the green and grey sections are plastic. The water will pass through that thread and pool around the part holding the ceramic in place for the duration of the filtration only. Once the water is down in to the bottom of the filter, it's all ceramic apart from a small washer holding the stainless steel tap in place.
For the record, the cartridge on the left is a new one, the cartridge on the right is several months old. 3-4 times a year the outside can be scraped down with a knife and the water flow will pick up again.
Water Filter Jugs
You just won't ever find a water filter jug that's plastic free. You won't even find one that has not plastic touching the water. We have just from Waters Co and Enviro Products that are both BPA Free plastic. We have a glass jug from Eco Bud too. No matter what the jug is made from, the housing for the filter cartridge is always plastic. So for the point of this conversation, I don't see the difference between the jug being glass or plastic.
But doesn't plastic leach toxins in to my water, even if it's BPA Free?
The answer to that is possibly / probably. But only under specific conditions. There are plenty of scare tactic articles around that suggest that BPA Free plastic is even worse than BPA. This may be true in a very small number of cases, but for most plastic, this simply isn't true. Regardless, plastic needs two things to start leaching toxins in to your water, an extreme of heat (hot or cold) and time. For this reason, don't leave them in the sun (you shouldn't anyway, the filters go mouldy and that's way worse for you than the plastic getting hot) and don't use them to store water in the fridge. Don't ever put them in the freezer.
If you're drinking your water within a few hours, then just filter it, leave it on the bench and there's no issue. If you want to store it in the fridge, decant it in to a water bottle or glass jug and leave your jug out on the bench where it belongs. It's harder for the body to digest ice cold water anyway, your body prefers water at room temperature, even if your tastebuds don't.
Which jug is your favourite?
Always the Waters Co Australia Jug (pictured at the top of the page). It has a more complex filtration system, removes 99.99% of the fluoride, comes with enough filter cartridges for 2 years and costs about 2 cents per litre to run, cheaper than a Brita Jug last time we priced it out.
We talked about the Ceramic Benchtop Filters above as an 'almost' plastaic free solution. Waters Co who make the jugs you see at the top of the page also make benchtop filters. They are not cheap. They are amazing. They have a glass reservoir. Like their jug counterparts, the casing to hold the filter system in place is bpa free plastic.
As far as safety goes, I personally do not have an issue with it. If you're on a mission to be plastic free, then you have a problem. Your filter isn't going to get hot because you're not going to put it in the sun. If you do, the cartridge will go mouldy, it will with any brand. You're not going to put it in the fridge or the freezer and you're going to run water through it on a regular basis. These are a lower plastic solution than others on the market.
You will get a better filtration by using an option that has some plastic in it. You don't have to store the water in them long term. Simply filter the water and store in a glass jug in the fridge or you can look through our 1 litre water bottle and 2 litre water bottle categories for a way to store larger amounts of water. There are stainless steel options just under 2 litres in capacity and glass options available just under 1 litre capacity.