It's always a bit sobering when one's attention is drawn to just how much we as consumers waste in the U.S. Take soda. The average household goes through about 1500 cans and bottles of soda (and sparkling water) per year. That's about 165 billion containers total, and according to the EPA only about 40 percent of that is recycled, leaving a staggering 100 billion plastic bottles and cans discarded each year — just for soda!

That translates into 900,000 barrels of oil to make the plastic; 700,000 tons of aluminum to make the cans (enough to make 32,00 Boeing 747's) and untold millions of gallons of fuel required to transport said beverage containers to your kitchen counter.

Last night this little penguin-shaped device was demoed at the Global Green Oscar party, and it dawned on me how much opportunity there really is right now for small companies like SodaStream to innovate products that provide the consumer with greater convenience while chipping away at our gigantic environmental problems.

The SodaStream basically makes soda at your countertop. Assuming you have a water filter, you can produce pure sparkling water and flavor it, Italian soda-style for about 1/10th the cost of bottled soda. They have cola, root beer, orange and other flavor syrups that you mix into the carbonated water. The whole process takes 30 seconds and requires no energy.

Maybe Pepsico and Coca Cola should rethink their distribution model and instead of the seemingly infinite waste stream they currently create by transporting individually bottled beverages, start selling branded at-home Pepsi and Coke machines.

SodaStream: The sustainable soda solution
This penguin-shaped gadget could stop 100 billion cans and bottles from being tossed each year.