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Filters of the future

This article first appeared in our COP27 special issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 11 November 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

As living costs soar and we continue to battle plastic pollution – in everything from our food and drink to our waterways – there has never been a better time to switch bottled water for an effective filter that strips unwanted contaminants from the tap water you already pay for.

In the UK our water is becoming increasingly polluted; chemicals from industrial and domestic sources, nitrates, pesticides and herbicides from intensive agricultural activity and pharmaceuticals from recycled domestic water all end up in our water supply, and increasingly water is also being contaminated by microplastics.

While water company treatment processes strip most microplastics from the water delivered to your tap, the rise in plastic pollution – exacerbated when we buy bottled water in a bid to avert the problem – means some of these tiny pieces of plastic in our water will inevitably get through.

’This increase in contamination has occurred relatively recently and only now are we beginning to recognise the presence of many of these materials in our drinking water’, says Stuart Morris, manufacturer of Coldstream Filters. ‘Some are known to be harmful while others are less understood, and studies are only just beginning to explore their effects. We feel that it is important to protect our long-term health and the environment from these issues, which are only just coming to light.’

Filters and waste

Filtration isn’t new – many of us have been filtering our tap water for decades – but the technology is getting more sophisticated and today’s shoppers are more conscious of products’ materials, associated waste and lifecycles.

‘All filters are disposed of every three to six months, and many contain large quantities of plastic’, Stuart explains. ‘For the most part this plastic won’t be recycled, meaning it will contribute to the spiralling problem of plastics in the environment.’

Another issue with many water filters, such as the semi-permeable membranes used in reverse osmosis – or ‘RO’ – systems, is that they only filter half of the water that passes through them; the contaminants are collected in the wastewater, which is then put back into the sewage system and, ultimately, the environment.

Protecting the environment

Stuart, a qualified Mountain Leader and Yachtmaster, has always had a keen interest in the natural world.

’In my lifetime I have seen the damage we are doing to the environment’, he says. ‘As an engineer I feel I have a duty and a responsibility to do all that I can to improve the situation, and as an individual I believe every one of us can make a small change to help improve the environment. This is the only way we can preserve a healthy, habitable planet.’

Stuart started to manufacture Coldstream Filters in 2015, to give people an opportunity to buy effective undercounter or countertop water filters that have a lighter environmental impact.

‘We are trying to permanently remove contaminants from the environment’, Stuart explains. ‘Ou filters are manufactured using power from on-site renewables, and we use natural materials for our filters. We have committed to removing the small amount of plastic we do use by 2025.’

The ceramic filters are made from naturally occurring diatomaceous earth, which removes micro organisms such as bacteria and viruses. High-quality carbons, derived from coconut, are used to remove chemicals and heavy metals.

‘The filters are engineered to remove materials ‘dissolved’ in the water’, Stuart explains, ‘while the ceramic filters, which can be cleaned and reused, remove the sediment that can quickly block filters before they have reached their maximum filtration capacity.’

All Coldstream Filters are tested to the end of their life by independent labs, to ensure they filter the last litre as effectively as the first.

While helping to reduce the waste associated with mainstream water filters, Coldstream Filters can also help you to save money.

‘Our filters are rated at up to a 10,000l life and typically cost up to £35’, Stuart reveals, ‘so clean water costs less than 0.5p per litre, compared with the typical 35-40p per litre for bottled water. A family of four drinking the government-recommended two litres of water each per day will consume at least 2,920l of water per year. That would cost £1,022 if sourced from bottled water, but £10.22 if using one of our filters.’

It has never made more sense to ditch bottled water and filter what’s coming through your tap.

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