Bottled water is out, water filters are in

One of the greatest offenders of single-use plastic in this world is our old friend, or rather, foe; bottled water. 

Bottled water was first sold using glass containers way back in the day, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the use of plastic became prolific and thus entangled an entire generation into an addiction – an addition to convenience. 

What was once created out of sheer accessibility has now contributed in a colossal way to the destruction of our environment, land and sea. 

Source: theNewYorkTimes

Plastic filters aren’t the answer

The solution that followed spelt a huge shift in how we think about and consume water both at home and on the go. Reusable bottles began to come into fashion alongside those Brita filter jugs, which has ushered in a new cycle – replacing the plastic insert filters once a month as well as the flimsy plastic jug every so often. 

Source: Gafencu

A more sustainable alternative

For those with families, requiring a higher water volume on demand, the Berkey water filtration system is more than just a filter; it’s a complete water purification system that just sits on your countertop. Beyond filtering out all the regular nasties, it promises to obliterate almost all bacteria and viruses along with fluoride which is rare to find. A gravity-fed system means no electricity is required and the sleek, freestanding stainless steel vessels houses filters that only require changing once every three years.

Source: thecharcoalpeople

Natural charcoal filters are in

One of the most cost-effective, low-commitment filter options is charcoal, which binds to toxins present in water naturally, ridding it of substances such as copper, chlorine, mercury, pesticides, lead and VOCs. It is important, however, to note that they will not remove fluoride from water, which is often a concern. 

Once a charcoal stick has reached the end of its water-filtering life, it can find a second life as a refrigerator deodoriser or planted in soil to absorb more water into your plants. 

Which Type Are You?

The Care-Free

Some of us believe that living sustainably means depriving yourself of life’s joys. Being passionate about building a greener future and indulging in life’s pleasures are not mutually exclusive. Sustainability doesn’t require upending your lifestyle and going vegan overnight. Yes, you can still take a hot bubble bath at the end of a long day, go shopping with your girlfriends (who doesn’t enjoy some retail therapy?), and have a decadent meal at Soho’s new and upcoming steakhouse– all the while still caring about our environment.

The Workaholic

Some of us live to work: being successful in our jobs and getting that promotion keeps us up at night. Many people consider a sustainable lifestyle to be too demanding: when there are only 24 hours in a day, why use our precious energy, time and effort to focus on anything but our work objectives? However, what the workaholic doesn’t realize is that living sustainably does not create added pressure or any new distractions. Rather, a little thought and a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle can have a big impact on your environmental footprint without taking any attention away from your life goals. In fact, having a sustainable mindset will likely improve your work ethic!

The Perfectionist   

Some of us are stuck in a perfectionist trap. By setting such high standards for even the most mundane tasks, overtime our perfectionism becomes an obstacle to progress. In a culture that glorifies the “all or nothing” mindset, our fear of failure paralyzes us. A sustainable lifestyle appears to be out of reach because it requires too high of standards – standards that we are fearful of not meeting and then proceed to renounce altogether. However, living sustainably is not about living perfectly. There is no single metric to establish that one person is living more sustainably than another. Living sustainably is a personal journey, not an endpoint. Any progress, however small, can be consequential.

Bottled up

In the plight against plastics and working towards a sustainable lifestyle, one of the OG poster children has been the humble water bottle. What started off as nothing more than a workhorse, has now morphed into a fashion statement, so say goodbye to the stagnant Nalgenes of your youth and S’wells of the early 2010s, and hello to staying hydrated in style.

Fashionista Fix

This “Deluxe Cool It” glass water bottle by is any trendsetter’s dream come true. The sleek, tubular glass bottle tapers at the top, where it is crowned with a jewel-like orb lid. A silicone sleeve keeps the bottle safe from hard knocks and spills.

What Goes Around Comes Around

The foundation of sustainability begins with clever design, which is the secret behind 24 Bottles’ success. Its lightweight bottles are a scant 117 grams and the range of colours and patterns is impressive. The Bologna-based company also makes it their mission to undo their carbon footprint and have employed a CO2 offset policy.

Active Elegance

Balancing ergonomics, aesthetics and usability in the inimitable way only the Japanese can, this Kinto Active Tumbler, with its double-walled stainless steel to keep liquids cool and easy-to-drink water spout, will surely be the chicest water bottle to hit the gym or on the trails.

8 Steps to Easy Sprouting

Sprouting is a fun and easy activity that you can do with kids at home, especially during the cold winter months.  While growing healthy and nutritious sprouts you can be learning along with your kids. 

  1. Get a large clear jar and some cotton or cheese cloth or muslin and hold it in place with a rubber band. (I use my kid’s old muslin clothes from when they were babies)
  2. Pick your seed of choice and let soak it over night. Rule of thumb (one seed to 3 parts of water)
  3. Place the seeds inside the clear jar and add cold water, then cover it with the cloth. 
  4. DR – Drain and rinse the sprouts. You can just use any drainer/sieve you already have at home and drain all the water out, make sure you try and shake all the excessive water.  Then add in fresh water, swirl around a bit and then shake out all the water.
  5. Once you have rinsed the sprouts turn tilt the jar upside down and turn it around in your hand.  With the seeds sticking to the side of the jar will increase the germination rate, it so the it has room to grown
  6. Then you can just rest the jar on an angle on a bowl or a plate to rest.  It is important to keep the sprouts draining.  Leave it in a dry, dark place. 
  7. Drain, Rinse and repeat the steps above twice a day. Keep repeating the steps until the satisfactory length of your liking.I personally prefer it around 1-2 inches long. 
  8. Then harvest and enjoy your sprouts.

When it’s time to harvest, give your sprouts one last rinse and then drain them nicely.  On a clean cloth, spread them all out, let the cloth absorb the remaining moisture and let them air dry (preferably in the sun) for an hour before you store them.

Storing Your Sprouts.

I personally like to store my sprouts in a glass Tupperware for easy access.  Post-harvest moisture is sprouting’s worst enemy.  To prevent moisture, I will get another one of my kid’s old muslin cloths and line it along the container, wrapping the sprouts within. If you don’t have a muslin cloth, you can use a kitchen towel (otherwise, a paper towel will do) Your sprouts can be stored up to one week… enjoy!

Plastic: Not So Fantastic

For a city so incredibly desperate to appear cutting-edge in every area, Hong Kong seriously lags in the eco race, most glaringly when it comes to the role plastic plays in daily life. Research shows that a plastic bag takes anywhere between 10 and 1,000 years to decompose naturally and a water bottle 45 years, it seems irresponsible to add to the problem by continuing to accept and use them. The world currently outputs upwards of 360 million tonnes of plastic, with a tenth of that ending up in the oceans.

On a local front, reports surfaced recently of plastic bottles collected in recycling bins being taken to the landfill. Talk about frustrating! Whilst we can certainly work towards overhauling this, for now, why not simply stop the problem at the source and not purchase beverages in plastic bottles in the first place?

Solution: Bring your own reusable shopping bags, cutlery and bottles wherever possible. It will seem like a commitment at first, but once you get into the practice of saying “no” to plastic, it merely becomes habit and trust me, it’s difficult to go back! The key is to start slowly, without expectations, and build up from there; remembering every little bit counts.