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Water is precious | Is this the best zero waste water filter on the go?

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Health

Updated on:


Water is precious; we all know that most of us also understand that our bodies are 70% water. So it only makes sense to drink the purest and cleanest water since it is our life force.

On my journey to zero waste, one of the first things I splashed out for was a stainless steel water bottle. The Yeti was my choice model, and I am still pleased with it, although I made a minor modification. Maybe I am overdoing it here but, I didn’t want any plastic to touch my water, so I added the aluminum foil to the lid.

Related: Microplastic Pollution in Sea Salt.

yeti bottle

As we are currently traveling around Canada, our water source changes continuously. Now we rarely buy bottled water (only fizzy and in a glass, of course), and we didn’t feel like carrying a soda stream with us everywhere we go, even though we both love fizzy water. It just causes us to laugh when you can burp after every sip; I know gotta keep the inner child alive. 😉

But seriously, tap water is more controlled than bottled water, and it is four times less the cost of bottled water. To me, it only makes sense to drink from the tap, but I have become susceptible to chlorine, and I can taste it and smell it exceptionally quickly. In Quebec City, I couldn’t even drink tap water. 

What are the solutions?

First, I saw GoPure at a zero-waste shop in Montreal, and I got really excited. Drop a pod into your reusable water bottle, and it starts attracting the impurities in your water. Can it get any better?

Perhaps? I wasn’t too happy that it comes in a tiny plastic capsule that you need to replace. Being plastic and all that didn’t work for me. So I continued my search.

Buying another product embedded in plastic that you need to refill or replace every couple of months. I wanted something that you can simply just drop into the water bottle, and it would do its job. 

Perhaps I have found the solution; it is called binchotan charcoal, which is all-natural.

What is Binchotan charcoal?

Binchotan charcoal, also called white charcoal, because it burns white. 

binchutan charcoal

It has been traditionally made for over 300 years by charcoal makers in the Kishu province of Wakayama in Japan. The technique of burning the extra hard Ubame Oak at low temperatures over several weeks made this charcoal so precious. 

Controlling the oxygen flow and observing the smoke turned this charcoal into impurity-free coal.   

It is nearly 100% carbon. Binchotan came from a famous charcoal artisan, Binchoya Chozaemon. The secret Binchotan process eventually became known in other parts of Japan. However, Kishu Binchotan remains the finest, densest, and purest form and is still handmade through a technique passed down through generations.

How does the binchotan charcoal filter my water?

Its microporous structure with 270 square meters of internal surface in each gram attracts impurities in the water. The process is called “adsorption,” where chemicals, gases, and particles adhere to the surface, drawing chlorine and heavy metals from the water.

Even radiation is weakened as it passes through the binchotan.

Activated charcoal naturally bonds with toxins like mercury, cadmium, copper, and lead. At the same time, it releases calcium, potassium, and magnesium into your tap water. The best thing of all is that it’s totally natural and 100% biodegradable, with no plastic here.

All you need to do is drop a stick of binchotan charcoal into your reusable bottle or a glass or carafe, and you let the charcoal do the rest. 

How long does it last?

Every four months, you are supposed to swap the binchotan for a new one. Every 3-4 weeks, the toxins will bind to the charcoal, and you must clean it. 

Throw the stick into some boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes. Please get rid of the water, and you have cleaned it from the toxins. 

After 3- 4 months, retire your stick in the refrigerator to absorb odor.

Alternatively, you can put them at the bottom of your plant pot to improve drainage. Or throw them into your compost, although I would recommend boiling it before you do that, and you don’t want to contaminate your compost.

Store your water

When using the binchotan charcoal, you don’t use a plastic container to store your water in. Use a ceramic or glass container or a stainless steel water dispenser that has been treated for water storage. Otherwise, they may rust. 

water is precious

The reason for emphasizing not to use a plastic container is straightforward. 

Plastic leaches endocrine disrupters. That means whatever beverage or food you store in a plastic container will become contaminated with the chemicals being used to create the plastic in the first place. These are linked to numerous health problems, such as cancer, reproductive development, and phthalates. In short, avoid the contact of food and drinks with plastic, especially when it is being heated, since that releases even more particles that can’t be filtered by the binchotan.

Filter water vs. tap water

Why is filtering your tap water a smart move? 

Even though tap water undergoes strict regulations, according to the FDA, compared to bottled water, which gets tested annually, filtering your tap water is still a good idea. Why?

  • Do you know where your water is coming from?
  • Is it anywhere near a septic tank?
  • Filtering can remove impurities.
  • Hormones and antibiotics can remain in your tap water.
  • Microplastic in your tap water.

Note: Chlorine is a gas, and the best way to remove it is by leaving your drink without a lid. The gas will evaporate, and the bigger the opening, the quicker it gets released.

The warmer the temperature =, the faster the evaporation.

Boiling will speed up the process, but you also destroy other beneficial nutrients. I usually leave my yeti bottle open for an hour or so if I am concerned by the smell of chlorine.

Filter water benefits

There you have it. Filter your water on the go with the binchotan charcoal by merely dropping one into your bottle, which might be the best solution after all for our precious water. The longer it stays in the water, the more impurities can be removed. 

I would make a big jug with water at home and keep refilling it as you go through your day. Perhaps without a lid or just a mesh to keep bugs from having a party in your water.

water is precious
Water is precious | Is this the best zero waste water filter on the go? 7

Final thoughts

Ok, so I am not saying this is the best filtration system you can use. I like it because it is completely zero waste, and I can have it in my bottle on the go. Will it remove all impurities? No, but since I am drinking water straight from the tap, it will undoubtedly make for better-tasting water. So I have ordered mine here on Amazon since that is the best and quickest way I can get them at the moment. I was on the road and all. I will get back to you and share more of my experience with you. 

But for now, if you want to read more about this, you can do so at or on the kishucharcoal website. Until next time,

The zerowasteman.

P.S. Let me know about your favorite water filtration method on the go? Are you using a GeigerRig or a Camelback with a filter in the pipe? Do you use a Lifestraw? Or do you even filter your precious water?

P.S. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water at home, I have joined forces with the guys from TapScore to give you the best state-of-the-art home water testing kit.

Binchotan Charcoal Water Filter Test
Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

2 thoughts on “Water is precious | Is this the best zero waste water filter on the go?”

  1. Very interesting an eye opening article. It seems that there are so many options on the market today for filtration systems of water. I know there is a lot of differences of water bottler’s in my area. The water market is huge in retail stores and all claim to have the purest. What was once a 4 ft. section of bottled water in a grocery store has expanded to 20 to 30 ft. I have learned a bit more reading your article. Thanks,

  2. Interesting post!
    I had never heard of binchotan charcoal before but it sounds worth using to me.
    The way that this binchotan charcoal works is very cool.
    I also did not know that chlorine will leave your water if you leave the top off of your container.
    I will try this more whenever I am concerned with chlorine.
    Sounds like you have a great system for significantly decreasing your waste.
    I try to reuse my water bottle as much as possible and never buy water bottles.
    I honestly have not been filtering my water and have not tasted any unusual taste in the water.
    Thanks for all the helpful information!


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