Bloggers everywhere are singing the praises of the BPA-free Soda Stream and how it makes the perfect alternative to other more toxic soda containers. But is that really the case?
I started the ball rolling with a call to the manufacturer. Their products are clearly labeled as BPA-free, which is usually a good indicator that we’re dealing with a company who is careful to make sure they really are. I asked them to confirm it anyway and I also asked them specifically what plastics were used in their bottles and casing. I received an immediate response stating that indeed the bottles were BPA-free but they would have to get back to me on the other plastics used.
In the meantime, they really wanted to send me a Soda Stream to try out for myself. I agreed and had the Pure model with every soda flavor under sun in my hands in a couple of days.
Of course the excitement in our household was flowing as my kids and I unloaded the box (they don’t get to drink much soda). As you know, the most important aspect of the system are the bottles that house the soda after it’s been made. And even though the carbonating bottles felt about 3 times thicker than normal, I knew we were dealing with PET (#1) plastic based on the instructions included:
- Do not place in the dishwasher; hand wash only
- May be used for up to three years
Hmmm, so the bottles are made from the same plastic as 2 liter soda bottles and disposable water bottles – all of which we’ve recommended NOT reusing. Remember how heat and detergents break down this plastic quickly? And then there’s also the other possibility we discussed recently of endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC’s) leaching from PET plastic too.
My Discussions with the Company
Soda Stream provided some refreshingly straightforward answers. Here are their responses:
Q: The grey bottle caps appear to be made from ABS, is that what they are?
A: The grey bottle caps are indeed made of food contact approved ABS.
Q: Is any PVC used? If not, what is the casing made from?
A: There is absolutely NO PVC plastic present in any of our machines or bottle parts. While we are at it, it’s an opportunity to mention that we also don’t have any parts made of PC (Polycarbonate) in our machines and bottles. Machine plastic parts are made of 2 plastic types:
a) ABS, used mainly for outer machine parts and caps, and
b) POM acetal, used mainly for water and CO2 gas contact, internal machine parts.
Q: I’m assuming the soda bottles are made from PET plastic. This plastic is known to break down quickly under heat and detergents, so we don’t recommend for reuse. I’d love to know if you’re considering an alternative plastic (like PP or PP combined with PE) in the future?
A: Regarding PET bottles leaching in prolonged use: our bottles are 100% safe, as long as all instructions are adhered to, i.e. not using a scratched or hazed or deformed bottle, not exposing the bottle to heat, not freezing the bottle, not using the bottle if it changed the way it looks, changed clarity, beyond the Use-By-Date,etc, etc. One suggestion might be to carbonate in the plastic bottles and transfer to the glass carafes for storage/serving…
Although it may sound as if I wouldn’t recommend the SodaStream at this point, I’ve actually found many positive reasons to invest in one for your family.
- SodaStream has everything right on the safer plastic front, with the exception of their PET bottles.
- They offer glass carafes as an alternative to the plastic bottles. The Penguin is the only model that includes a glass carafe that can be used to carbonate. The others require carbonating in PET, then switching to a different container.
- It’s a great way to reduce exposure to BPA-lined soda cans.
- By reusing bottles, the amount of waste created by buying soda and seltzer bottles is reduced.
- They offer a recycling program for the carbonator cylinders.
- Unsweetened flavor essences are a great option for making your own flavored seltzer.
- The flavors really are amazing! My kids are madly in love with the whole process of making their own soda. We actually conducted a blind taste test with our friends and neighbors using the orange flavor and time after time they choose SodaStream’s soda over Orange Crush!
- SodaStream doesn’t seem to have plans for changing from PET to a more stable, truly reusable plastic so I recommend you choose to use their glass bottles instead. If you’ve already purchased the system with PET bottles, I think it would be a good idea to follow their suggestion to carbonate the soda in their bottles and then transfer it to a different container for storage.
- Take their cleaning instructions very seriously and hand wash only with warm (not hot) water and a mild detergent if necessary. My husband accidentally put ours in the dishwasher last week and the bottles warped into a shape like you’ve never seen. Needless to say, after one round in the dishwasher, the bottles are no longer usable.
I heard talk of a new SodaStream model called the Crystal which includes only glass carafes and looks really sleek. When I contacted the company last week, I learned that they aren’t yet available in the U.S. You can bet I’ll be keeping my eyes open for that one to arrive.
The final change that would make the SodaStream perfect in my opinion, is the addition of a calorie-free soda mix made with stevia instead of chemical-based artificial ones.