A greener solution for our fizzy-drink habit

sodastreamSodastream, once a kitchy relic from the 70s, is making an international comeback and two eco-enlightened Sodastream executives believe it could mean the end of plastic bottles forvever.

Sodastream? If you were in the market for kitchen appliances during the 1970s you might have some vague recollection of this once-clunky home soda-dispensing gadget, but even if you don’t you might be surprised to learn that three million units of the device were sold in the last 12 months, and that sales fetched $289 million for the company in 2011.

An eco-resurrection, some might call it. The brand sat dormant for decades until the two men responsible for it’s reawakening and stylish re-design, CEO Daniel Birnbaum and innovation and design officer Yaron Kopel, saw potential in the inherant eco-logic of being able to produce one’s own fizzy drinks at home.

Sodastream drinks contain less than half the sugar of Coke and Pepsi branded fizzy beverages

Birnbaum told Wallpaper magazine in a recent interview: “The beverage industry is antiquated, trapped in an expensive business model. Fifty years ago people weren’t drinking out of plastic bottles. In another fifty years you won’t drink out of a plastic bottle either. Our goal is to speed up that process.”

And aside from a dinosaur business model, what’s at stake? 130 billion plastic bottles and alumimum cans that end up in the trash every year in the US alone. Not to mention the 100 million barrels of oil, according to Birnbaum, that the beverage industry uses annually to produce drinks and bottles.

The verdict: this is one hell of a stylish gadget that might very well catch on. Sodastream executives are counting not only on growth in home sales, but also in bars, gyms, offices, and there are even plans for Sodastream fountains in town centres. In a recent BBC interview, Birnbaum also stated that the recent economic crises in Europe could well fall in its favour, as value-conscious consumers seek alternatives to conventional beverages.

And have I mentioned the health benefits? As governments worldwide decry the ever-expanding waistlines some partly blame the fizzy drinks industry on, Sodastream is promoting itself as a healthy alternative: it contains a third of the sugar and over 90% less sodium than Coke or Pepsi branded drinks, while having absolutely no high-fructose glucose syrup and using Splenda-brand sweetener in the diet flavours, and not aspartame.

Now available in 60,000 stores worldwide, including Wal-Mart in the US and The Bay in Canada.

 www.sodastream.com

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