You drink too much soda.
Last year Americans consumed 50 billion liters of soda. That comes to 216 liters for every man, woman, and child. Not you? Someone is drinking all that soda.
This is not like pineapples from Hawaii or lobsters from Maine—it’s water and flavoring and some CO2 for carbonation—the stuff could come from anywhere. And sparkling water? We haul San Pellegrino from Italy like it’s Prosciutto di Parma. Oceans of corn syrup, mountains of glass and plastic waste, money, fossil fuels; this is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.
Restaurants have always been a relatively small part of the soda problem since most soft drinks are sold as fountain beverages. But when it comes to water, the server’s question, “Still or sparkling?” can really add up. When its staff realized that each year it was serving 24,000 bottles of sparkling water imported from Italy, Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, ever the leader in sustainability, looked to an alternative. Today, instead of a bottle of Santa Lucia with its attendant charge added to your tab, you receive a (gratis) carafe that was filtered and carbonated right in their kitchen.
You can (and should) make soda and seltzer at home.
It’s economical and green and good for your health. The easiest way to go about making sodas and waters is with a home system. All you do is fill a bottle with tap water, pop it into a soda maker and in 3 seconds you have seltzer. You can make sparkling fruit juice, adjust the bubble size to your preference, or add extracts and syrups to make soda. The initial investment (machine, carbonation, bottles, a few syrups) starts at around $100, but quickly pays for itself. You only have to give up a few inches of counter space, and it works without electricity.
More cumbersome, less convenient, but also cheaper: old-fashioned soda siphons pump in a carbonation charge to make a bottle’s-worth of seltzer at a time. And if you want to tackle a real DIY project, Mother Earth News has a complete how-to guide to brewing yeast-carbonated sodas in flavors like honey-lemon ginger ale and licorice-root beer. It looks and tastes just like the real thing- only better- when your homemade soda is served in YAVA’s glasses made from recycled soda bottles. Each glass is individually flame cut and polished to give you a smooth finished rim and a new life to the bottle.