Would you like to know how to filter water (without a plastic jug?) Many people use a reusable water bottle, but at home you are best using filtered tap water. There’s no need to spend a fortune on plastic jugs and filters, most of which don’t get recycled.
You don’t need ‘8 glasses a day’. It depends on your height, weight, how thirsty you are. Some people with medical conditions have limits on the water they are able to drink. And water-rich foods (fruits, veggies, smoothies, juice, weak tea) all count. But coffee, cola and wine does not!)
England has some of the safest drinking water in the world these days. Fluoride is sometimes added (with no beneficial effects to dental health, it’s been done in Ireland for decades, with no results). In excess, it can cause teeth mottling and bone cancer). But as we can’t do much about it (government decision), it pays to filter out the yukkies, but get your minerals from food. Don’t get confused by all the different waters: spring water is simply from rocks, and mineral water is obviously with minerals. Distilled water is made from boiling steam, but removes minerals. And stream or puddle water is not recommended, as it’s often polluted.
Pets need fresh drinking water. But unless recommended by your vet for a medical condition, most say it’s best to avoid distilled water. Drinking from puddles is not good (could contain pollutants, oil or antifreeze). In hot weather, walk pets early morning and evening, to avoid dehydration or heatstroke. Carry water in a bottle, but don’t let pets gulp down lots of water, straight after a run.
Tips to Drink More Water
- Drink water from the kitchen tap, often the pipes in bathrooms come from storage tanks (not safe for baby formula). Just air out water in a jug to remove the chlorine taste, if you don’t have a filter. Or make fruit-infused water or herb-infused water.
- Drink when you’re thirsty. Drinking warm water is a weight loss remedy in Ayurvedic medicine, to help icky tummies and indigestion. Herbal teas are good, but check packaging as some are not for medical conditions or pregnancy/nursing.
- JellyDrops are chewable vegan sweets (invented by the grandson of a dementia patient) that help people to stay hydrated.
- It’s popular to ‘drink water from copper bottles’. But although it offers minerals, it can lead to symptoms of diabetes, nausea and vomiting. People with certain medical conditions should not use them, and no-one should drink more than a couple of glasses a day.
Plastic-Free Water Filters
- Reverse osmosis filters are good but too expensive for most people. Charcoal People Water Filters are the simplest option. From Japan, just pop charcoal pieces in a jug of water, to filter within hours. You can refresh the pieces every few weeks in sunshine. Then at at end of use, just crush up to use as soil conditioner, or place in draws/fridges, as natural odour absorbers. Also sold by Boobalou & Black & Blum.
- Phox Filter (Glasgow) are locally-made. Just open the cartridge, then pour in the granules every 45 days (refills fit through the letterbox and emit 75% less Co2 than competing brands. Made from activated carbon (coconut shells), the used filter media cannot be recycled.
- Large offices and schools can send back water cartridges/packaging waste for a one-off charge to TerraCycle.
Filtered Water for Developing Countries
80% of all diseases in developing countries are caused by dirty water. Baby Milk Action campaigns against companies that market free formula in hospitals to poor mothers (when they get home, they often use with dirty water or dilute the formula, WHO says this causes some babies to die). Despite poverty, most mothers can breastfeed.
- Lifestraw & Icon Life Saver Bottle (which filter out impurities) are cheap to buy and install. Some people don’t like them saying it’s encouraging people in Africa to drink from filthy rivers, rather than invest in clean water projects. But they save lives, in emergencies.
- FRANK Water Coolers are good for offices and schools, profits help fresh water projects in India.
- Hipporoller is an invention to let women and children quickly fetch fresh water from wells, to spend more time in school and work. Carrying water on their heads may look ‘traditional’, but leads to headaches (and joint problems, later in life).