Is the Soda Stream Really Made From Safe Reusable Plastic?

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?

My Investigation

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.

My Experience

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…

My Conclusions

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.

Pros:

  1. SodaStream has everything right on the safer plastic front, with the exception of their PET bottles.
  2. 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.
  3. It’s a great way to reduce exposure to BPA-lined soda cans.
  4. By reusing bottles, the amount of waste created by buying soda and seltzer bottles is reduced.
  5. They offer a recycling program for the carbonator cylinders.
  6. Unsweetened flavor essences are a great option for making your own flavored seltzer.
  7. 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!

Cons

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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  • danikacarter

    Thanks for the report. I, too, was wary of their environmental claims. It's nice to see they're upfront about what is and isn't in their products.

    As fun as it sounds, I think I'll be waiting until they have natural flavors to get one, as I think having this in the home would make us drink more sodas than we already do and we're trying to get away from drinking them altogether…before our 3yo quits buying the “it's a grown up drink” excuse we've been using for not giving her any.

    I wonder if there's a way to use their machine and use your own natural flavors?

  • http://slimodds.blogspot.com/ bluenude3

    Thanks again for being so thorough on this(as usual)!

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Hi Danika – you're welcome! We were happy with their overall handling of our interrogation :)

    Yes, we've been able to use our own natural flavors with Stevia by simply carbonating water and just not adding their flavored syrup.

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Hi Simone – thanks for the compliment on our thoroughness! SodaStream made is easy.

  • msbluey

    Thank you. I think many of their soda flavors taste artificial. I like to natural essence flavors they have. I think the recycling program is a bit of a nusance with Purolator and having to wait 20 days to get another carbonator. Other than that, we love having “fizzy water” at our fingertips.

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  • mindfulmomma

    Thanks for another good investigative report Alicia! Soda Stream has contacted me about doing a review….and while I know my kids would have a blast with it I've been on the fence about it. I think I'll wait for the one w/the glass carafe to come out – that sounds just right!

  • http://thesoftlanding.com Alicia

    Glad you found it helpful, Micaela!

    They actually have the Penguin model available now that comes with glass carafes (http://www.sodastreamusa.com/Penguin-Starter-Ki…).

    Guess I should've mentioned that! I have the Pure model, but would definitely feel comfortable with the Penguin. I just REALLY like the way the Crystal is designed :)

  • Plastic Blinds

    This is so interested! Where can I find more like this?

  • Danielle Friedland

    We’ve had a Penguin for a few years and love it. We only drink it plain or with a squeeze of lemon. It’s remarkable how much less recycling we have now that we’re not going through a case of sparkling water a week! I even bought one for my mom.

    • Jenny

      Hey,…you sound like me with the sparkling water. I go through a case a week and wonder if you are truely saving money….I know you’re saving time and your back by not having to lug home the bottles..

  • Mrfizz

    Hmmm??? Well, dunno about what’s in the plastic bottles, as I don’t make the plastic. But you can get a Fizz Giz for thirty bucks that lets you make soda at home. That’s pretty much all anyone’s home soda maker does. There are actually about 20 soda maker manufacturers around the globe. You won’t find ‘em easily on Google. Go ahead, try. 90% of the google pattern matches returned are all SodaStream related for almost any keyword you can think of. Gotta hand it to SodaStream, they’ve pretty much pushed all their competitors off Google. If you want to see your choices, there’s a list at http://www.fizzgiz.com.

    • Brian

      Fizz Giz’s site actually mentions SodaStream explicitly as a suggested purchase on some of their pages. Anyhow, SodaStream’s proprietary system does have three advantages over generic soda siphon solutions. 1) The SodaStream CO2 cartridge is for 60L. I’d rather have one big CO2 container than many small ones. 2) The SodaStream system makes it easier to control the carbonation. It buzzes to give an indication of carbonation level and also makes it much easier to use a bit more or less fizz than a 1L cartridge worth. Not to say it’s impossible to use 1.5 1L cartridges to make one drink using a generic soda siphon, but it’s tough to do so effectively. 3) I happen to live within a 5 minute walk of a store where I can buy SodaStream products (e.g., CO2 refills). Obviously this advantage doesn’t apply to everyone.

      Notice I don’t mention mixes. You can use any mix you want with any soda maker.

    • Brian

      Fizz Giz’s site actually mentions SodaStream explicitly as a suggested purchase on some of their pages. Anyhow, SodaStream’s proprietary system does have three advantages over generic soda siphon solutions. 1) The SodaStream CO2 cartridge is for 60L. I’d rather have one big CO2 container than many small ones. 2) The SodaStream system makes it easier to control the carbonation. It buzzes to give an indication of carbonation level and also makes it much easier to use a bit more or less fizz than a 1L cartridge worth. Not to say it’s impossible to use 1.5 1L cartridges to make one drink using a generic soda siphon, but it’s tough to do so effectively. 3) I happen to live within a 5 minute walk of a store where I can buy SodaStream products (e.g., CO2 refills). Obviously this advantage doesn’t apply to everyone.

      Notice I don’t mention mixes. You can use any mix you want with any soda maker.

  • Mike

    Would there be any problem with using a glass bottle with the same threading and opening on a soda stream machine? Not that I’ve found one yet, but would like to.

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