Hydropack Emergency Water Filter

HydropackThe Hydropack is a small pouch that may be used to filter water in disaster situations, such as the Haiti earthquake, or the recent earthquake in Japan. Using a technology called forward osmosis, this small pouch is basically a membrane that lets in only water, rejecting even the harshest of contaminants. Filled with a syrup that contains calories and electrolytes, it also provides energy to malnourished disaster victims. Similar to a Capri Sun pouch, a straw is poked into the top when ready to drink.

Pros? It is less taxing on the environment than bottled water, since the pouches are small. Still, it is unclear (at least, to me) how the membranes are disposed of, once used, or if and how they may be recycled.

Cons? According to this video, the Hydropack takes twelve hours to work its magic. To supply clean water to an entire community, hundreds of pouches would have to be left overnight in a large body of water.

It may not be the most sustainable solution to the third world clean water crisis, but for disaster situations, it does provide a slightly better alternative to bottled water. What do you think? Is this the best emergency water filter you’ve seen?

Charity Tuesday: Waves 4 Water

Waves 4 Water surfing water charity logoWaves 4 Water was founded in 2009 by pro surfer, Jon Rose. On his way to Bali to deliver 10 water filters for what would have been the charity’s first mission, he felt a shake. When he came to shore, he realized that a 7.6 magnitude earthquake had hit the city of Sumatra, and he made his way through the crumbled buildings to get water filters into the hands of rescue workers to help the country’s wounded victims. It was this experience that solidified the need for Waves 4 Water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to impoverished people around the world.

Waves 4 Water teamed up with Hurley International to develop a program called Clean Water Couriers. The concept is both simple and innovative: surfers, in search of waves in third-world countries carry filters with them in their luggage and either connect with local nonprofits in the area or travel to villages to personally set them up. There are two types of filtration systems – a $50 community filter, which will filter up to 200 gallons of water a day for an entire village, and a $25 family use filter system that filters 14 gallons per day. Materials include a plastic bucket (which may be found locally), a ceramic filter, a spigot, and a knife to cut a hole in the bucket. ┬áThe ceramic filters will remove a variety of contaminants including bacteria, viruses, cysts and microorganisms that cause waterborne illness.

Anyone can get involved, either by making a direct donation through the Waves 4 Water website, or by buying water filters and traveling with them through the Clean Water Couriers program. Though the program was conceived in the surf community, the opportunity to get involved, by donating or by traveling, is open to all.

Help us spread the word, this #charitytuesday, about Waves 4 Water, by retweeting and/or sharing this post!

Activate Vitamin Water

Activate bottled waterFans of Vitamin Water may be disappointed to learn that vitamins may lose potency if stored in water for extended periods of time.

Enter Activate – the only brand of bottled water on the market that has vitamins, antioxidants and other supplements in powder form hidden in the cap, which are released with just one twist, just before drinking. How did this concept come to be?

“Friends Anders Eisner and Burke Eiteljorg were sitting in the Denver airport four years ago. Anders was trying to pour Airborne, a supposed cold-fighting dietary supplement, into a bottle of water. Burke was doing the same with Emergen-C, another vitamin drink mix. Both were making a mess.┬áThere had to be a tidier way, they decided.”

Activate comes in eight flavors. Some emphasize health and immunity boosters, while others are workout drinks with electrolytes. The drinks contain Stevia, a much healthier alternative to the sugar used in Vitamin Water and other similar beverages. While we applaud the company’s innovation and drive to be healthier than most, we still have the problem of plastic bottle waste on our hands. Perhaps Eisner and Eiteljorg wouldn’t have made such a mess if they had a wide-mouthed reusable bottle like this Klean Kanteen instead. Moreover, the beverage sells for $1.79 to $2.29 per bottle:

“Some balk at the price, but Holland [the company's president] says, ‘If you bought a bottle of water and Emergen-C it would cost you $2.'”

Precisely why we shouldn’t be buying bottles of water in the first place! We’ve said it many times and we’ll say it again. Save money with your own supplement packets and/or pills, and fill up your reusable water bottle with filtered tap water instead.