From: Paul Geary, ENN
Published August 4, 2005 12:00 AM

Innovative Environment-Friendly Products: Soda Club

ENN features many stories about companies that are making innovative products or offering creative services that will improve our health and our environment. ENN Expo was created specifically to showcase those innovations; if you visit the Expo you'll find a variety of green products and services, including some whose existence you may not even have been aware of, such as the PowerFlare, a clean alternative to the very dirty and dangerous common roadside flare.


We'll continue to bring you information about interesting new products as they hit the growing market for environmentally-sound goods.


Many aren't aware that it is both legal and affordable to make your own soda in the US.


Americans drink about 55 billion liters of carbonated beverages each year, and each person discards about 500 aluminum cans and plastic bottles each year. According to the Container Recycling Institute, more than a trillion aluminum cans have been discarded in the US since 1972.


Less than half of aluminum cans in the US are recycled, and the numbers are much lower than that for plastic soda bottles, according to statistics kept by the institute.


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Several, but not all, states in the US have "bottle bills"; that is, laws requiring a deposit (usually five cents) on the purchase of a beverage. Consumers can return the bottle to a recycling center, or forfeit the deposit. State policies differ, but generally the forfeited deposit is intended to go to state environmental programs. Often, those deposits simply go into a state’s general revenue fund, and don’t go directly to environmental efforts.


It is possible, however, not to contribute at all to can and bottle waste. Soda Club, an Israel-based company, started marketing home soda-making kits in the US in 2002.


The company's soda-making kits consist of a device using a simple CO-2 canister that injects the "fizz" into cold tap water. The company also sells various flavors of common types of soda. CO-2 canisters aren't technically legal to own, so the company licenses the canisters to consumers. When empty, the company will replace the empty canister with a full one by mail. The consumer can also refill the canister at a number of retailers, including marine chain Boaters' World, with locations across the US.


According to Soda Club's website, the soda maker and a CO-2 canister that makes 110 liters of soda sells for $89.99. Enough flavoring to make 110 liters of soda costs about $30, meaning the start-up cost for the first 110 liters is about $120 -- not much more than the price of 110 bottled liters of name-brand soda. Of course, the average price per liter goes down the longer you use the kit.


On top of the thousands of cans and bottles that a typical family will keep out of landfills with the use of the Soda Club soda maker, urban dwellers will appreciate not having to lug cases and cases of heavy soda up stairs. Trips to the store are reduced and one of the bulkiest items that you would buy disappear from the shopping list.


The company says it has sold more than 10 million kits worldwide.


ENN will continue to bring you the latest in green product innovations in our news stories and in our sustainable economy channel. Of course, you should check out the new ENN Expo, our showcase of some of the most innovative green products in the market today. You can find it here: www.enn.com/expo.We want to know about all of the innovative products that are being created today. If you know of one, please write to us at ennpublisher@yahoo.com.


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