Clean, “Green” Water

When it comes to drinking water, we understand the appeal of water filters. They remove impurities and ensure our water is clean and safe. But with more mainstream filters like Britas and PURs, their efficacy runs out after four to six months, with millions of plastic filters being disposed into landfills every year.

A better option is charcoal water filters. Typically made using eco-friendly bamboo or sustainably sourced wood, these plant-based materials are put into a specialized kiln and burned at high temperatures to create a porous, glass-like charcoal filter that will purify tap water. 

How does it work exactly? Because these natural filters are porous and highly absorptive, toxins like lead, chlorine, ammonia, and even pesticides are removed from tap water. In their place, charcoal filters add in healthy components like magnesium, calcium, or other naturally occurring minerals. 

The TL;DR? You’re making your own mineral water!

Just one or two pieces of charcoal can filter your tap water within a couple of hours, and they’ll last up to four or even eight weeks, depending on its size. Some can filter up to a liter at once while others can handle gallons; of course, there are always smaller pieces available for an on-the-go water bottle.

How to Use A Charcoal Water Filter

  1. Once you receive your charcoal, rinse off the amount you’ll need and boil it for five minutes

  2. Allow your charcoal pieces to dry for approximately 10 minutes (and preferably in the sun)

  3. Drop the charcoal into your water and wait one hour for it to take effect; some brands recommend 6-8 hours for maximum absorption. That’s it! You’re ready to drink.

It’s important to note: You’ll want to re-boil your charcoal every couple of weeks to maintain its effectiveness throughout its recommended lifespan. Then when you’re ready to replace or discard your filter, you can use the old filter as an odor neutralizer in your fridge, plant in your yard or garden for nutrients, or compost it—the charcoal is 100 percent sustainable and low waste

We’ve found four charcoal water filters that will help you make the sustainable swap—you’ll love your new clean, “green” water. If you’re heading out, be sure to bring your water along in one of these sustainable water bottles, too!

1. Miyabi

Life Span | Lasts up to four weeks
Filtration Capacity | Up to one liter of water
Where to Buy | Online, Good Intent, Package Free Shop
Price | Starting at $17.50 for 100 grams (3 month supply)

Miyabi’s Bamboo Charcoal upcycles natural bamboo from the Japanese countryside that would otherwise go to waste. The bamboo is then processed into charcoal by artisans using traditional Japanese methods. This sustainable charcoal can then be used for better tasting water, lasting up to three months each and with multiple sizes/supplies available.

Shop Miyabi

2. Kishu

Life Span | Lasts up to four months
Filtration Capacity | Up to two quarts (1.9 liters) of water
Where to Buy | Online, Package Free Shop, Pureosophy (Europe)
Price | Starting at $28.99 for 2 pack (8 month supply)

Whether you need a charcoal water filter for on-the-go or at home, Kishu’s Charcoal has plenty of options. Made by Japanese artisans using 500-year-old traditions, each piece is individually hand-cut. This activated charcoal also begins working immediately, with each stick lasting up to four months, so it’s super easy to stock up and maintain. Plus, it’s sent to you in compostable packaging.

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3. Morihata International

Life Span | Lasts up to three months
Filtration Capacity | Up to one gallon (3.8 liters) of water
Where to Buy | Online, Rikumo (US), The Lab Organics (AUS)
Price | Starting at $18 for 1/4 lb (3 month supply)

Sourced from 100 percent Ubame Oak wood in Japan, Morihata International’s Binchotan Charcoal purifies water and improves taste for up to three months at a time. Available in ¼- and ½-pound bags, just one quarter pound can purify up to a gallon at a time, ideal for larger families or water jugs.

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4. Charcoal People

Life Span | Lasts up to eight weeks
Filtration Capacity | Up to one liter of water
Where to Buy | Online, Peace With The Wild (UK)
Price | Starting at £4.60 for 4 pieces (2 month supply)

Charcoal People, based out of the UK, uses natural bamboo for the most sustainable water filter. Using clay kilns and traditional methods in Japan, Charcoal People offers everything from loose charcoal to starter sets to retail-packed water filters. For smaller households, you only need 4 pieces at a time, but if you want more, Charcoal People’s shop offers orders of up to 72 pieces.

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