I’ve been using a certain Karim Rashid-designed water filter for just about a year now. While it’s certainly a massive improvement over its space-hogging predecessors, the sleek, contaminant-zapping pitcher does leave a bit to be desired in the functionality department particularly when it comes to filling the damn thing up (there’s no reservoir). Also, it’s made from plastic.
When San Francisco-based entrepreneur Mike Del Ponte sent me an email earlier this week introducing the Soma carafe and water filter I was left a touch bit confused. Wait. Is that an actual decanter-quality glass carafe instead of a big ol’ plastic jug? And the filter itself — it’s compostable? Is this for real?
Indeed it is. The Soma is perhaps the sleekest, most show off-worthy water-filtering vessel that I’ve ever stumbled across (when it comes to portables, however, Eau Good from black + blum still has my vote). And it’s also perhaps the greenest.
Designed by legendary water filtration guru David Beeman, the made-in-the-USA Soma features a revolutionary, fully compostable filter made from Malaysian coconut shells and vegan silk. There is a bit of plastic involved but it’s of the biodegradable corn-based variety. At this point, Del Ponte and the folks at Soma cannot yet make claims as to what kinds of contaminants the filter is capable of removing. However, Del Ponte notes “you can rest assured that it is one of the most effective filters of its kind.” Chimes in Beeman in a press release issused by the new company: “there’s nothing else like it in the world.”
Soma also has some early props coming in from luminaries of San Francisco’s health and sustainability scene including Tim Ferriss, Zem Jaoquin, Method co-founder Eric Ryan, and Ido Leffler, co-founder of eco-friendly skin and haircare line Yes to Carrots. Leffler — also the co-founder of Soma — dubs Del Ponte as being the “Willy Wonka of water.” Quite the distinction. Lloyd Alter of MNN’s new sister site TreeHugger also recently gave Soma a ringing endorsement (while also pointing out a couple of minor caveats revolving around PLA plastic and the Malaysia-sourced coconut shells).
In addition to its sleek, Chemex-y good looks, the Soma also stands out from the pack in that in lieu of stickers, timers, and other “time to change the filter” reminders, new filters are delivered to your door every two months via a subscription service. I know I’m not alone when I say that swapping out old filters is never been on the top of my priority list. A subscription service makes the process effortless.
Says Del Ponte of his “aesthetics, world-class filtration and sustainability”-combining product:
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.
On the topic of having it all, Soma launched earlier this month as a Kickstarter campaign and the crowdfunding love really flowed in. Half of the $100,000 goal was raised in the first 36 hours of the campaign. Currently, Soma is well over the $100K mark and there’s still 28 days until the campaign expires. So yes, Virginia, sometime in mid-2013 there will be an elegant, hourglass-shaped glass carafe with a 100 percent compostable filter available that doesn’t produce annoying black flakes of carbon.
Head on over to the Soma Kickstarter page to learn more about the product itself and the perks associated with helping to back/purchase it. A pledge of $45 will get you the carafe, each with a six-month filter subscription (U.S. shipping included). For $100, you’ll receive two carafes, each with a six-month filter subscription. Other perks are available — invites to the VIP launch party, your name etched onto the carafe, etc. — for big early spenders. The anticipated ship date is July 2013. And be sure to check out the video above to hear more from Del Ponte, Beeman, and a few enthusiastic Soma supporters. But be warned, there’s also a raucous water-sipping party involved.