I'm a carbonated water addict, but I had to stop the bottle waste

Published Nov. 01, 2022
Women sift through mountains of bottle-waste

If you’re anything like me, you are a sparkling water junkie.
There’s something fancy, extra special, even a bit bougie about it.

Water is the healthiest way to stay hydrated and when it has that bubble, and the flavors that you add to put some spark in your sparkling bev, it turns water into something more than just something you have to drink to keep your doctors happy. It becomes your coffee replacement, your go-to drink, and it keeps you hydrated throughout the day. 

If you’re still anything like me, your growing conscience wears on you; you toss can after can, gather plastic bottle after plastic bottle, and line your house with so many glass “vases” and “candle stick holders” that your friends and family start giving you the “you need an intervention” look. To make matters worse, your pocketbook has run dry and your mouth will too if you keep it up (I know you saw what I did there…).

Out of all of the bottles and cans that people like me haul to the recycling center, and of all the plastic bottle waste folks who are lucky enough to have a recycling truck come to pick up, sadly no one knows exactly how much actually gets recycled. The best estimates on total plastic waste predict that only 5-6% of all plastic produced makes it to recycling and the other 95% ends up littering more landfills.

My trunk loaded with bottles bound for an uncertain fate

It’s tragic that over 20 billion plastic bottles end up in landfills each year. That's over 418,878 tons of plastic bottles each year. 

You have it a bit better if you drink your sparkling water out of a can because they are recycled at about a 50% rate but this still equals approximately .67 million metric tons going to landfills annually. 

As I stick candles and freshly picked florals in my sparkling water bottle "vases" throughout the house, the ones I have brought with me through multiple moves and the new ones I have gathered since, I realize it doesn't quite cut it to hold onto these repurposed decor pieces as opposed to ditching my carbonated habits altogether, because when I face the fact that 62% of glass bottles end up in the landfill, and my house is littered with my infinite attempts at being more green, I feel a little bottlenecked.

The more waste-conscious I become, the more I realize that I have to raise my personal standards and willingness to assume responsibility in doing something effective to take care of our planet than I originally thought, starting with my own home: my consumption of food and beverage, these little habits that change the way society reacts to demands of certain products. For instance, eliminating bottle and can waste. If we aren’t buying products that constitute landfill waste and pollution then, eventually, they will cease to be produced. It starts and ends with the consumer. With me and you.

The EPA states that Americans generate over 292 million tons of waste every year—in one year (2017) 94.2 million tons were recycled/composted but if you look at it another way, that’s only 35% of what we should be recycling. It was startling for me to discover that, with all my hard work to recycle, not every piece of recycled waste that makes it into the bin also makes it through the recycling process! This unfortunate set of circumstances is mainly due to the recycling process itself; the improper handling of recyclables, the lack of return on investment, and the mere fact that not everything with that well-known symbol of 3 arrows in the shape of a triangle is recyclable, which in turn causes an issue as they contaminate the rest of the load and ends up once again in the—you guessed it—landfill.

Bottles bound, presumably, for recycling

I’m sure you’re with me on this, but I certainly would like to change National Geographic’s current prediction stating that 12 billion metric tons of plastic will be sitting in landfills worldwide in a mere 30 years; friend, that’s about 35,000 times that of the Empire State Building in sheer weight of plastic toxins!

With my hydration in mind, the simple pleasure of sparkling water imbibed, and the weight of the world on my shoulders, I’m left with one simple solution, and it’s a solution I’ve embraced and have been entirely loving living with: 

America, jump on board with Europe, ditch the aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, and drink your sparkling water carbonated at home by your hand, even bring it with you when you’re out by storing your favorite flavors in an indefinitely reusable bottle. 

My Spärkel fits adorably on my tiny countertop; I add fruit, flavored sugar-free sweeteners, herbs (fresh or dried, directly from my raised bed garden), tea (did I mention I’m a tea junkie too?), when I have a date night at home I sparkle our wines, and for dinner parties I sparkle a harder drink and impress my guests.

My tea and "sparkling" station

Spärkel has no CO2 tank, which also reduces pollution from the back-and-forth shipping that CO2 cans require. With Spärkel you have absolutely zero bottle waste, and I’m especially enthusiastic about the fact that they are plastic-neutral, which means that, with the finger-sized sachets they do use, they actually go out and collect as much plastic waste as they output! 

Recycling issues stymied, emissions lessened, and responsibility from a company for its own potentially negative impact is what Spärkel represents in my mind.

Cleanhub has even verified for me that from April 2021 through March of 2022 alone, Spärkel recovered plastic equivalent to 260,764 bottles! 

Featured in Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Fortune, and Good housekeeping, I feel confident in my choice to gift Spärkel during the holidays, for gift exchange parties, as a housewarming gift, and for giving to my best friends. Even though not everyone is as obsessed with sparkling water as I am, you can literally carbonate any drink, specify the carbonation level, change up the flavor according to taste, and I honestly feel you simply can’t go wrong with this household essential. 

I get to wake up with a flavor that’s fresh and colorful (in every sense of the word), keep healthy every day, and enjoy our favorite bedtime drink with my hubby at the end of the night once our little is sound asleep and we get some alone time to decompress.

I’m thrilled because I’m finally able to take the necessary steps to fulfill my mantra of “reducing waste by demand” in my own life, and that it includes the simple pleasure of a fresh, cold glass of sparkling refreshment

And with that, I’m off to “Sparkle” with my other half right now…

MORIAH DAWN is a advocate for more ethical ways of doing commerce. The founder of The Labour Movement, she works to improve working conditions for laborers around the world and to fight for a more conscious approach to how business impacts the world around us.