THE AMAZING WATER-TO-GO BOTTLE

With a Water-to-go bottle, you safe plastic, money and stay hydrated. In many countries I would not recommend to drink water straight from the tap, especially when you are not used to it. Unless you have the incredible Water-to-go bottle. We took the plunge during a long trip in India.

WATER-TO-GO BENEFITS

I really think this is a great product because:

  • It filters 99.99999% of microbiological contaminants in the water. After traveling one month in India, drinking tap water from my Water-to-go bottle, I have not been sick.
  • It takes out bad smell and odours of (tap) water.
  • The bottle is affordable. I paid around 40 euros for a 0.75L bottle, including one filter. There is also a 0.5L bottle.
  • The filters last long. Mine can be used for 2 months or 200 L. I brought 2 spare filters for later this trip.
  • The bottle is durable amd easy to clean. True, it’s not a fancy design but it works amazing.
  • I support the mission and vision of the company.

WATER-TO-GO, HOW IT WORKS

So how can this bottle with its tiny filter perform it’s magic? I tried to write a good summary, but that did not work. Therefore I copied the following text from the official Water-to-go website:

“Our reusable, BPA free water bottles contains our own unique 3-in-1 filtration technology effectively providing clean safe drinking water from any non-salt water source around the world.

Three different (1 traditional and 2 nano) technologies are combined in one filter cartridge to remove up to 99.9999% of microbiological contaminants in water.

The three technologies used in a Water-to-Go filter are:

  • Mechanical filtration – A tiny pore size, so small contaminants can’t fit through.
  • Electrical – A positive charge reduces the pore size even further and attracts contaminants like a magnet, trapping them inside the filter.
  • Activated Carbon – Unlike most carbon based filters, instead of using adhesives to glue the carbon particles together, (which vastly reduces the carbon’s efficiency) it is contained within the membrane, helping to reduce contaminants whilst eliminating bad tastes and odours.”

WHAT NOT TO DO WITH YOUR BOTTLE

Here are some tips… Very obvious but still good to know.

  • Don’t fill it with salty water.
  • Don’t leave the water inside for too long. Or if you do then refresh the bottle first before using.
  • Don’t use aggressive cleaning detergents.
  • You can only drink directly from the cap. You cannot use Water-to-go to filter for example a bucket of water. For this purpose, use another aid such as the Steripen

WHERE TO BUY THE WATER-TO-GO BOTTLE?

Look on the Water-to-go website to see if shipment is available in your country. If not, search online.

SMART FILTER & WATER FOUNTAINS IN MEXICO

Thirsty? The first lesson received by a visitor arriving in Mexico City, is that you cannot drink tap water. As a result, Mexico’s plastic water bottle consumption is one of the highest per capita. According to Greenpeace, only about half of the bottles are recycled and the consumer pays 5,000% more for the product just for the cost of the container. Two DJs are trying to change this. With their company Smart Filter they sell and install Elkay water fountains, bottle fillers and 3M filtration products.

IMPACT ON MEXICO’S DRINKING WATER CULTURE

Co-founder Edward Lugo: ‘Me and another co-founder are DJs. We have actually provided free water systems for water festivals and taken a 2 hour break to go play a set; so we like to connect ventures and be artistic with everything we do.’ 

Smart Filter Event water filling station
One of the free water stations installed by Smart Filter on the EDC Mexico festival in 2019 (Source: Smart Filter)

Edward Lugo tells us his family has been involved in water treatment in Mexico for over 50 years. He explains: ‘Our dream is to have an impact of Mexico’s drinking water culture so we can stop being one of the main consumers per capita of plastic in the world’. Therefore, with Smart Filter he wants to install as many filters and water fountains as possible and then find ways to map and have users find the stations. Mapping stations can be done with one of the many refill app.

MORE AND MORE WATER FOUNTAINS IN MEXICO

We believe Smart Filter has an interesting approach. Mexico still has a long way to go, but every step counts. Official numbers are missing, but public water fountains are emerging in gyms, universities, massive events, office buildings, parks and hotels. Locals with a sustainability mindset are starting to carry a refillable bottle with them on the streets. We hope more will follow their example!

GET IN TOUCH

Smart Filter is based in Mexico City, a metropole with nine million inhabitants. They are a division of Lawsco, a big water treatment company in Mexico. Do you want to learn more about Smart Filter? Check out their website or get in touch with Edward Lugo.

Smart Filter logo

TAPP: IN LOVE WITH TAP WATER

What if tap water is potable, but not very tasty? Use a water filter! It’s almost one year ago since we tested the TAPP 2, a simple and affordable biodegradable water filter. Since then, TAPP Water has been working on the development of new products and their website. Time for a close look at this innovative company. Oh and we have a nice present for you at the end of this blog!

BECOMING TRUE WATER GEEKS

The TAPP team is growing fast. And so does their knowledge. They consider themselves to be ‘water geeks’. We like the fact they share valuable info on their website, e.g. about different filter mechanisms and tap water quality around the world. For example Can I drink tap water in Ibiza? Or in Hong Kong? The website also has a 3-minute water filter type test’ ☺.

Information on water filtering @ tappwater.co

The TAPP team (image: TAPP)

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT TAP WATER

The 25 team members gained lots of insights regarding misconceptions about tap water. Silvia Gennaro (PR, Affiliation & Partnerships Manager) shared a few stories with us. For example many universities are engaging with their students giving them reusable bottles to refill and avoiding single-use plastics. However in countries where these universities are, many still refil the reusable bottle with water that comer from plastic bottles. (e.g. using 1,5 L single-use plastic bottles from the supermarkets).

Silvia: “Italy has extremely pure water sources. It’s even famous for exporting bottled spring water, like San Pellegrino. However, Italy is the world’s 3rd country when it comes to bottled water consumption per capita (after Mexico and Thailand), the first one in Europe. Tap water tests in Milan and Rome show the water is very clear and safe, yet people buy bottled water because they have false beliefs.”  

Furthermore Silvia told us some people believe they get kidney stones from drinking tap water, even though many studies show it is not true. Overall, tap water provides a perfect mixture of sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Even more strange: healthy humans buying low mineralisation bottled water and mineral supplements! Strange!

TESTING FILTERED TAP WATER

Last month, TAPP demonstrated their water filters on a local food and artisan market in Barcelona, their hometown. During the event, they conducted blind-tests with filtered and non-filtered tap water. Visitors were amazed by the difference in taste. “Amazing!” “It tastes really good, I’m going to buy it”. Something we also concluded with our own user test (50 participants).

GET YOUR OWN WATER FILTER – SPECIAL OFFER

All in all, we feel TAPP is a cool company striving for big changes. They really want to re-educate people in the way we consume and drink water. Most importantly, they offer sustainable, affordable water filters. The TAPP 2 is a biodegradable water filter (Activated Carbon Block, 1-2 microns) that you connect directly to the faucet. It strongly reduces bad taste, chlorine, lead, microplastics and a wide range of other contaminants.

Do you want to get your own filter? With the coupon code refillambassadors you get €5,- discount on any order at TAPP (apply this code in the first step of the check-out). In addition, our project receives a very small percentage when you use this TAPP discount code. We’ll use this money to cover our operational costs.  Happy refilling!

USING A STERIPEN ADVENTURER OPTI TO STERILISE TAP WATER

In this blog I share my experience with the SteriPEN adventurer Opti, which I used when hiking in the Dolomites, Italy. You might wonder, can’t you drink tap water in the Dolomites? Yes, in most places you can. Sometimes directly from the mountain stream. However, there are some areas where tap water is not potable. For example in some mountain cabins also known as ‘rifugio’s’, we could not drink tap water (listed in the end of this blog). Luckily with our SteriPEN we didn’t have to buy any single-use plastic bottles. In this blog, we explain how it works. 

WHAT IS A STERIPEN?

The SteriPEN is a portable gadget which uses ultraviolet light to sterilise water and make it safe for drinking. The device kills the DNA of harmful microbes, viruses and bacteria. According to the manufacturers, 99,9% of all harmful enemies are killed. The SteriPEN does not filter metals or chemicals.

USING THE STERIPEN

Several models exist. We bought the SteriPEN adventurer Opti for our trip. This device only has one button. Click once (for 1 L) or twice (for 1/2 L) to activate the UV light. Then stir around in the bottle until the green light flashes. And done! In case it did not go well, the sensor gives other signals to warn you.

STERIPEN ADVENTURER OPTI PRO’S AND CON’S

What we love about the SteriPEN adventurer Opti:

  • Lightweight: 108 grams + batteries
  • Quick: 48 seconds (1/2 L), or 90 seconds (1 L)
  • Clear interface: green and red lights (unless you are colour blind!)
  • Capacity: can filter 8.000 liters of water
  • Value for money: prices vary from €60,- to €100,- (or around 1-2 cent/litre)

Drawbacks:

  • Battery: you need CR123 batteries, which can be expensive and difficult to find
  • Bottle: you need a bottle with a wide opening, otherwise it does not work

OTHER WATER FILTERS / PURIFIERS

The SteriPEN is one product to purify water. For example there is also the Lifestraw or Grayl water filter. We did not test these, but read what other travellers wrote about this topic:

How do you filter water when travelling? Share your experiences!

BACKGROUND INFO: SOME CABINS (RIFUGIO’S) IN THE DOLOMITES WITHOUT CLEAN TAP WATER (BY MACHA LINSZEN)

Our friend Mascha Linszen also travelled to the Dolomites (natural parks around Cortina d’ Ampezzo) and she kept track of tap water conditions in all cabins she visited.

“Most cabins are large and comfortable, and often well connected to civilization by means of a cart track. The comfortable cabins where we have been sitting or passing along the way have running drinking water from the tap at their disposal. In our case this involved the following cabins (DE / IT):

  • Hütte Plätzwiese / Prato Piazza rifugio
  • Dürrenstein Hütte / Vallandro rifugio
  • Sennes Hütte / rifugio Sennes
  • Schutzhütte Vodara Vedla
  • Berggasthaus Pederü
  • Fanes Hut
  • Berghütte Lavarella / Rifugio Lavarella

In some smaller huts the tap water was not drinkable. This was indicated in different ways, and there were alternatives available:

  • Seekofel Hütte / Rifugio Biella
    Indicated: by means of signs (‘kein Trinkwasser’) next to the tap
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
  • Ucia dles Muntagnoles
    Indicated: on arrival, verbal communication by the hostess
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
    Alternative 2: tap water at a nearby larger cabin (Fanes / Lavarella)
    Alternative 3: the host lady (living in the hut) drinks from the nearby stream herself, but clearly indicates that this is at his own risk given the larger huts upstream. Two Germans who, despite this warning, drank from 4 brooks in the brook soon got stomach flu.
  • Ütia da Rit
    Indicated: warm tap water temperature
    Alternative: water / soft drink / alcoholic drink offered for sale
    Alternative 2: there is potable tap water in the kitchen – we asked the cook on the spot if we could fill our bottles.”

 

COMING UP: TRIP TO SPAIN

We’re thrilled to announce our upcoming trip to Andalucia, Spain! Research will be conducted from mid-November to mid-December and includes the cities Malaga, Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla. The goal of this trip is to analyse existing water refill infrastructures, future challenges and opportunities.

REFILL STATION PILOT

Besides our research we we will approach eco-friendly businesses: ho(s)tels, shops, cafés, restaurants and tour operators to conduct a pilot. This means they become a refill station for a couple of weeks. They will offer water refills to customers and/or passengers, for free or for a small fee. Hereby they help to save single-use plastics. We will add the venue to two refill apps (Refill and Tap) and help them with in-store communication. And hopefully they want to continue after the pilot ends.

This will be an interesting opportunity for venues to reduce their footprint, as well as engage with the community and attract new customers. 

     

IS TAP WATER IN SPAIN SAFE TO DRINK?

Nowadays, 99,5% of tap water in Spain is safe to drink. However, bottled water consumption in Spain has grown to around 6-8 billion plastic bottles in 2017. Most people do not like tap water due to its chlorine taste. We will tackle this problem by using the TAPP2 water filter to improve the taste of tap water. This is the World’s First Biodegradable Smart Water Filter.

HELP US SPREAD THE #REFILLUTION IN SPAIN

Do you know a place in Sevilla, Granada or Malaga or surrounding areas that we can approach for a pilot to become a water refill station? Please send us a message. We are looking for eco-friendly:

  • shops
  • tour operators
  • hotels, hostels
  • bars, cafés, restaurants
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