Living in such a small community (think no sidewalks and population 500) also meant that I had a different relationship with water. Our family has a well (at our cottage and our house) and we always, always drank water straight from the tap. Our well only went dry once that I remember and the water tastes fabulous. No chlorine or fluoride in our water and my hair is always happiest after being washed at home. (River near our cottage at the end of the summer)
Whenever we went to restaurants in "town" all the "villagers" (giggle) always grumbled and snarked at the "townie" water that tasted so disgusting. Poor townies that had to drink gross, municipal water with the zippy chemical taste.
It wasn't until I moved out into various cities on my own that I came to realize that most city/town dwellers never drank from their taps for that very reason. My hair and skin changed from being exposed to the hard water. No way was I going to drink that chlorine flavoured water. I bought my first Brita Pitcher pre-University move and kept it in a fridge in my tiny dorm room and still have the same Pitcher in our apartment today.
Carbon based filters like Brita use carbon, a porous substance, to absorb and filter specific impurities like lead, PCB's, chlorine by-products, certain parasites, radon, pesticides and herbicides some bacteria and some VOC's (National Geographic Green Guide). Fortunately city water systems are tested and treated more rigorously than water bottle companies or well water. However, there is that taste... the city water taste. So even though I know that tap water is safer in Canada to drink than bottled water (especially with all the
phtalates leaching in from that plastic AND the fact that water is a human right... ok off the soap box lol), I hate the taste. (Atlantic ocean and view of windmills just off the shore in front of my parents house)
Unfortunately carbon filters also come with their own eco-issues like their packaging; a box containing plastic wrapped filters made of plastic going in a plastic pitcher. All these years of using a Brita I have been throwing my filters every three months into the garbage. Take away summers spent at home during University, and that leaves 27 filters over the past 8 years. Blegh.
After spending lots of time looking through Preserves' website for my fun recycled toothbrush I discovered something awesome: Preserve in partnership with Brita Filters are now fully recycling all plastic Brita filters in Canada and the States!! WOO!! So no longer do any more Brita filters need to pile up in the landfills! Here's how to recycle your Brita Filter in Canada:
1. Dry the filter by shaking off excess water and setting it aside to dry for at least three days.
2. Wrap the filter in a plastic grocery bag (hmm wonder if there's an alternative for that? I would keep the plastic wrapper it came in) and pack it in a box (both plastic and boxes will be recycled). Send multiple filters at a time to save on emissions and packaging.
3. Mail filters via ground shipping at:
Brita Canada Corporation
PO Box 140 STN LCD Malton
(similar process for the states, just different address)
Not sure about international recycling, but on Take Back The Filter they report that U.K. vs U.S. filters are made differently allowing them to be recycled in the U.K. but not as easily in the U.S. Also, that Brita was initially a German company that had recycling plants in the U.K. but the North American division was sold to Clorox in 2000. According to Brita's UK website all filters used in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, France and Switzerland can be sent to the dealers and then recycled by Brita. I guess it's just North America that's falling behind on the recycling boat... no surprise there! (picture curtosy of Take Back The Filter)
One other tiny anecdote about tap water city vs country:
While in Montreal I visited an Aveda store (pre-break up) and was trying to problem solve with a consultant on how to get my hair back to it's smooth beautifulness it used to be at home at the "village". When we started talking about water hardness, I said that I wasn't sure as we had a well. She looked at me like I had four heads... "A WELL?? Like a hole in the ground?" Me: "well, essentially yes". Her: "Like in the movies?? Wow that must be so difficult, you have to turn the crank and bring the bucket up every time you need water??" Me: "......." LOL. I'm pretty sure rural Quebec has well-water communities and that not all city dwellers view well water this way, but it was funny nonetheless.
Blessings and love that Tap Water :)