SueCarr-new-smBy Sue Carr

My husband will tell you I’m generally a little late to the ballgame when it comes to getting onboard with his ideas. He’ll make a suggestion in June that I’ll shrug off. (“We should get an electric fireplace instead of installing a gas one. It will serve the same purpose and cost a lot less.”) Then six months later I’ll say something like, “Honey, I found an electric fireplace I really like at Home Depot. I’ve been thinking, maybe that would be a better way to go since it won’t cost as much and will basically serve the same purpose.” At which point he slaps his forehead and wonders why he bothers talking in the first place. Such was the case with the Soda Stream. My husband pointed one of these bad boys out to me at Bed, Bath & Beyond where they played a video demo to entice unsuspecting shoppers into purchasing a really neat-o but completely unnecessary device that will basically just serve as a counter hog. I said as much to him then. “Like I don’t already have enough to do? Why the heck do I need to make my own pop?” (This is Pittsburgh. It’s pop here, not soda.) Fast forward to a couple months ago when I listened to Mrs. Green’s podcast, “Zero Waste Lifestyle: Is it Possible?” in which Mrs. Green interviewed her granddaughter, Madison Davisinger. By the way, that girl is going to rule the world someday. If you haven’t yet, listen to the podcast and get schooled by this uber-intelligent twelve-year-old on how much more you could be doing for the environment. I guarantee you’ll learn volumes. Well, Madison talks in the podcast about the many ways her family strives to create zero waste in their lives. One of the things they use is—you guessed it—a Soda Stream.

sodastreamUntil then, I looked at this contraption as a novelty appliance. But when Madison talked about how the Soda Stream helps her family avoid putting dozens of plastic bottles into landfills ever year, a light bulb switched on. (Yeah, the connection’s not always real quick up there.)

I drink seltzer water all the time. It’s a habit I picked up back when I was pregnant with my daughter and couldn’t drink anything (no caffeine, no artificial sweeteners, no sugary drinks, no alcohol—ugh, the rules!) I took to mixing a couple ounces of 100% fruit juice with seltzer. No artificial sweeteners, not a lot of extra calories, and vitamins to boot—win/win. But as a result, I began going through three or four one-liter bottles of seltzer per week.

No more. After listening to this podcast, I had a revelation.

“You know, honey, if we got one of those Soda Stream deals, we could really cut down on our plastic bottle usage. And we’d actually save money.”

[Hubby slaps forehead.]

At $0.25 per liter – vs. the $0.89 per liter I pay for seltzer at my grocery store – I figure I’m saving about $100 per year with my Soda Stream. More importantly, I’m keeping about 150 plastic bottles out of landfills annually. Major win/win.

This is just another example of how we each need to think outside of our own boxes (which you should recycle, by the way) to find new ways to positively impact the environment. And maybe listen to our spouses every once in a while. Sometimes they have some pretty good ideas if we’ll just open our minds and listen.

Sue Nelko Carr is a freelance writer, editor, blogger and a full-time mother, trying to live a greener life in Pittsburgh, PA.