Soma Reinvents the Water Filter, Makes It Gorgeous And Greener

Soma/Promo image

TreeHugger has been recommending water filters for years, but they are not without their issues. (Remember Beth Terry's Take Back the Filter campaign?). They are often ugly, plastic things. I love my ZeroWater, but it is ridiculous to fill, and is seriously out of place in an architect's kitchen.

The Soma, on the other hand, is lovely to look at. CEO Mike Del Ponte tells us that it is designed according to Dieter Ram's principles (which inspired Jony Ives and Apple). Rams has written:

My aim is to omit everything superfluous so that the essential is shown to the best possible advantage.

And indeed, as Mike points out, they even eliminated the handle from the glass carafe. It is simple and elegant, a bit retro and would look lovely on my counter.

Soma/Promo image

Then there is the plastic disposable filter, the bane of every water filter owner's existence. According to the press release,

Soma’s filter is made a compostable, foodbased PLA composite, carbon granules derived from Malaysian coconut shells, and a special layer of vegan silk that adds to the filtration process. [The designer, David] Beeman highlights, “This entire filter is compostable. There’s nothing else like it in the world.”

This raises two very minor cavils; We spend a lot of pixels railing against Malaysian palm oil, how their plantations are killing the orangutan and chewing up the rainforest. I am not comfortable with their coconuts and I hope they will look for a closer, more reputable source.

There is also the issue of composting PLA; it's not so easy. You can't do it in your backyard, and as Pablo wrote,

While PLA (biodegradable bio-plastic made from GMO corn)... can technically be recycled, it can also be seen as a contaminant in the PET recycling stream which compromises the revenue of recycling plants. In addition to this, people are still uncomfortable with throwing a bio-plastic into the compost bin because it seems to go against everything that we were taught. This means that a great share of the biodegradable plastic is neither composted, nor recycled.

On the other hand, it is such a step forward from the usual styrene filters that probably cost more to recycle than they do to manufacture. It is the direction we have to go, even if all of the problems are not yet resolved.

I like the easy filling, simple and straightforward/Promo image

It's not just a filter, it's a service system

Soma is more than just the product; it is also a subscription, where they ship filters to your door every two months so that you don't forget to change them.

Mike Del Ponte writes:

We believe a product should look great, work well, and be good for the world. We realized that water filtration is an industry ripe for disruption and sustainable change. The incumbents have products are not currently addressing all of the needs of today’s consumers; superior taste, phenomenal user experience, beautiful design, an inspiring brand, and sustainability. We’re proud to unveil our first products, which have it all.

If they don't have it all, they're damn close. I want one. More at Soma

Tags: Designers | Health | Plastics

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