Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sodastream Stems the Tide of Bottles and Cans Flooding Landfills

When we first met the Sodastream guys at The Chicago Green Festival, my husband was hooked.   We're old pros at reuse and recycle, with our rain barrel, composter and our blue recycle bin that we dutifully fill each week.  However, we still need to work on that first, most crucial of the R's--reduce.

It's a bit hypocritical of us to claim green family, eco-conscious status, while we continue a couple case a week San Pellegrino habit, with it's attendant bottles and cans.  In 2010 we've vowed to reduce the packaging we discard, and get that blue bin a bit less full each week.   With that thought in mind, I did the comparison research among home soda makers and was easily convinced Sodastream was the way to go.  They have an excellent web site full of rave reviews and product details.   

I was excited to think we could stop lugging heavy cases of fizzy water and burp juice (as Sagezilla calls soda).   We could save a ton of money and space.   And we could do something positive for the earth at the same time.

Reviewers claimed the Sodastream models were simple to assemble and use.   But I'm a Mother to young children.   Were they talkin' simple, as in, my six year old can make her own?   Would I need to call tech support to attach the CO2 tank?  It's not easy to read and retain a three inch thick assembly and operations manual for any gadget, with kids clamoring for your attention and crises to be averted.   

So, ChiIL Mama took it upon ourselves to test and compare the Sodastream Penguin and Genesis models.   We were extremely impressed with both.   The best surprise of all was how much fun we had with the whole process.   
There was much laughter as Sagezilla, Du-Jay and our friend Daniel tried out each model by themselves.   The process was easy for the 8 year old boys.   And even our 6 year old tester could do most of it herself.   The Penguin required parental help only in the final unlocking phase.   All the kids could handle the whole process with The Genesis.   I was pleased that the initial assembly on both units was simple, and could be done with little reference to the slim and easy manual.

***One note....DO follow the directions on how to add the syrups to the carbonated water SLOWLY and into a TILTED bottle.   Ignore that one at your own risk.   I can vouch from personal experience, that adding it upright and faster will cause a giant eruption like those grade school baking soda/vinegar volcanoes!   (Great fun for the little scientists helping you mix, but not so fun for the Mama on clean up duty!)

Penguin love:   This sleek black and silver bird gives a charming chirp when the bottle's carbonated.   The bottles are glass, which is nicer to drink from directly, but a breakage hazard with littles.    And the glass bottles are smaller and hold less than The Genesis' plastic counterparts.   We'd highly recommend it for the adults on your gift list and those with older children.

This was the favorite of the adults....and of our 100lb Akita, who was entranced by the chirp.   He barked at The Penguin when it first peeped and stared at it, cocking his head from side to side, for the whole first day.   Don't worry Nakama, you haven't been replaced by a new pet.

The Genesis Geniuses:   Genesis proved to be the most kid friendly.   All of our testers found it simple to use.   The bottles are heavy duty plastic and can handle being dropped.   They hold more than the glass bottles.  Also, since the bottle isn't enclosed during the carbonation process, like it is in The Penguin, the kids got a kick out of watching the bubbles.   This one doesn't give a little whistling peep, but it gives more of a honk, that sent the kids into spasms of laughter.

We all had fun taste testing 12 of Sodastream's flavors.   The kids were regular scientists, mixing up flavors.   And after they tried all the official ones, they mixed and matched and had a blast creating their own hybrids.   Root beer was the hands down favorite.   The kids claimed it tasted like there was ice cream already in it.    But wow, did it make even better root beer floats later!   The kids also enjoyed orange, lemon lime, pink grapefruit, and that "every once in a while" treat--burp juice.

The adults' favorites were the My Water fruit flavors.   The berry, orange and lemon lime can be added a few drops at a time, for a splash of flavor that's not too sweet.

Check Sodastream's website for a complete listing of local retailers or order on line.   Orders placed through 12/21 are guaranteed for Christmas delivery.  In Chicago they're carried by many Macy's, Sears, Sur La Table, and Williams-Sonoma.

 So here's to a Green Christmas and reducing waste again in 2010.


  1. This sounds cool, I'll have to try it out myself. My kids still talk about the root beer they tried with Du and Sage.

  2. One of the best reviews of SodaStream! Thanks for the advice. I saw them at Bed, Bath and Beyond and it seemed like every 10th person who walked by was grabbing one. Wasn't sure what it was all about but this helped.