Australian brand Sol have released a binchotan charcoal stick to filter water. The company, who are known for their glass coffee cups and our favourite glass water bottle that has no plastic touching your water, have released the first product we have stocked in our store that provides a completely plastic free way to filter your water. The Pure Binchotan Active Charcoal Water Filter Sticks are a great way to filter your personal drinking water needs without all the plastic that comes with the traditional way to filter water, even with the water filter jug choices we have in store (although some are better than others.

binchotan charcoal stick up close

What is Binchotan Charcoal and how does it filter your drinking water?

The Binchotan Charcoal used in the Sol filter sticks is created by burning oak branches at extremely high heat. It is then rapidly cooled leaving a porous burned stick of timber. It is not a new concept to use activated charcoal (also called activated carbon) to filter out impurities. Our air purifiers from InovaAir use an activated carbon filter, in the E20 model, there's 6kg of carbon to filter impurities from the air, including outgassing from petrochemicals. Activated charcoal, is used in emergency medicine for some kinds of poisoning to help prevent it from being absorbed from the stomach through to the body (source Mayo Clinic).

Countless microscopic cavities in the activated charcoal stick trap and hold chemicals and toxins from your water so it's not longer in what you're drinking, it's now held in the charcoal filter stick.  The stick needs to be prepped before use by boiling it for 10 minutes and repeating this every 2 weeks. Be With regular use, the stick will last you around 3 months, at which point you can bury it in a garden bed to boost nutrients or put it in a cupboard to absorb moisture and odours. Some of the best shoe deodorisers use activated charcoal so you could even stuff it in your gym shoes!

Pro's of using Binchotan Charcoal to filter your drinking water

The main pro of using a binchotan charcoal filter to filter your drinking water is the zero plastic aspect. The next one is your ability to easily drink from the bottle while you're out and about. We  have road tested and rejected multiple filter water bottles in the past that require you to suck the water through a filter as you drink. I have joked more than once that it's like trying to suck a golf ball through a garden house. Camelbak used to have one and got rid of it. So have many other brands. They're a nice idea in theory but very difficult to use. With the binchotan charcoal sticks,  you can either just leave it in the water bottle while you're drinking, or pull it out. We recommend leaving it in unless you're decanting the whole bottle in to a glass to drink from.

Con's of using Binchotan Charcoal to filter your drinking water

With any positive there's usually a negative to balance it out. The charcoal filter stick is no exception. Where a filter that has water pass through it can filter a litre of water in a minute or two, you need to let water sit with a charcoal filter, preferably overnight. The filtering is not quick. At a bare minimum, you need around 2 hours to have any effect. Other benefits you can get from filtration that has the water pass through are not found in a charcoal stick. These include the removal of fluoride and the addition of trace minerals being put back in to the water.

How long will a Binchotan Charcoal filter last?

With regular use, each stick will last around 3 months. After the 3 months is up, it can be useful for other things, including moisture absorption in damp places (inside your running shoes, your closet, bathroom), absorb odours (same places, great for shoes) or you can bury it in your garden to break down and put nutrients in your soil.