Soda-Making at Home Eliminates Bottle Waste

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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