Water filtering with KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal

So not too long ago I caught sight of KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal on Facebook.  I was intrigued and made a mental note to give it a try as I am not 100% happy with my current set up.

They sent one to me to try and so before I go on, to get things clear: yes it was a gift, but if I did not genuinely like it, I wouldn’t be writing about it!

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The stick of charcoal comes in a simple cardboard box with a cardboard info sleeve over it. Packaging is unavoidable here I suppose.  I do like that you are at least left with a decent plain box you could reuse for craft storage or similar at least, or recycle or compost. The stick is wrapped in a thin bag, which is made from wood pulp and 100% compostable

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Firstly you need to activate the stick by boiling it in water for 10 minutes. You can then place the stick in a jug or jar of up to 2 litres of water for 6-8 hours or overnight. At first I thought that sounded like a schlep, but it is not at all!  When I wake up in the morning, I fill up two 1 litre consol jars with the purified water, refill the jar with 2 litres of water and in the evening I can repeat the process.  Obviously if I had an extra stick, I could do more at once.  But for a household of two adults, it actually works.

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Once a month you need to boil the stick for 10 minutes. After 3 months you can use the stick in the fridge to absorb smells, help dehumidfy small areas, burn in your braai amongst other suggestions.

KURO-Bō is proven to remove significant levels of toxic heavy metals and chemicals like: lead, aluminium, copper, iron, chlorine, mercury and manganese, as well as E. coli (tested at 99 CFU per 100ml). Plus research also widely suggests that activated charcoal helps to remove many other impurities such as viruses, other bacteria, pesticides, cancer-related Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs), chemical run-off, pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, as well as ethylene, acetic acid vapour and hydrogen from the atmosphere. Apparently it can even absorb electromagnetic waves and radio frequencies! * taken from kuro-bo.com

I was slightly skeptical, but the water actually does taste clean and fresh; I love it!

KURO-Bō enriches water with many of the beneficial minerals that were originally stored in the living hardwood tree from which it was created. These include Magnesium and Calcium, and it neutralises pH as well. Binchotan is also known to releases Potassium and Phosphorus. * taken from kuro-bo.com

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What I really love about it, is that it is such a flexible, transportable system.  If we go away, even camping, I can easily take a stick or two along with me and place it in whatever vessel I have. Likewise at home, I no longer need to have a bulky one-use only set up on my kitchen counter.

I don’t currently use those refill stores as the thought of having to go backwards and forwards, loading and unloading, and pay each time makes me feel unwell. I would literally run out of drinking water every week. Also I don’t like the storing water in plastic thing, especially if it’s hot. I also worry about how much of the minerals and goodness get removed from the water.

So unless you are super lucky and have your own sparkling borehole or built in water filtering system, then I highly recommend these.

You can buy Kuro-bo activated charcoal sticks from their website, a growing list of stores nationwide, or online from Faithful to Nature or Wellness Warehouse.  Remember when shopping online to place a note requesting minimal packaging, no plastic and no single use packaged samples!

UPDATE: Zero Waste Home – South Africa Tour 2017

Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home is the guru of the Zero Waste lifestyle. She is inspiring people around the world by sharing her journey through social media and being invited to give talks around the world. She has given 100+ speeches in 20+ countries on 5 continents, since 2011. She has spoken at The European Parliament, United Nations, Google, Adobe and more.

So imagine my joy when she asked if I would be interested in helping getting her to South Africa in May! Especially as she is the one who inspired me to start my journey.

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Photo taken from Zero Waste Home.com

If you or your company are interested in assisting with sponsoring, making a donation towards the cost, or even hosting a talk, but would like any further information, please do get in touch with me to chat about it. You can reach me on mrscolleenblack@gmail.com.

Once we have venues confirmed, an event page will be created for each location, and all sponsors will be promoted via these pages. In the meanwhile, please express your interest on the event page on Facebook by selecting “Interested” or “Going”.

Our major sponsors are EcoJarz and Faithful to Nature.  We also have support from Ecoffee Cup SA and KURO-Bō Activated Charcoal.

Thank you to our organisers – Eco Atlas, Rethink the Bag / Two Oceans Aquarium and Food & Trees for Africa.

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5th May – Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium (Organiser: Rethink the Bag)
6th May – Plettenberg Bag – Beacon Island Resort (Organiser: Eco Atlas)
8th May – Durban – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)
9th May – Johannesburg – venue to be confirmed (Organiser:Food & Trees for Africa)

Please do help spread the word by sharing this info and reaching out to your contacts so that we can make this a reality! Invite your friends, tag them, share this post, phone your friends, talk to relevant businesses, do whatever it takes!
If you would like to support this, you or your business can make a pledge on our crowdfunder on ThundaFund.

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VIDEO: Dame Ellen MacArthur

This video clip is quite old but I just love it.  Listen to the surprising thing that Dame Ellen MAcArthur learned sailing solo around the world!

“What do you learn when you sail around the world on your own? When solo sailor Ellen MacArthur circled the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she came back with new insight into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources, where the decisions we make today affect what’s left for tomorrow. She proposes a bold new way to see the world’s economic systems: not as linear, but as circular, where everything comes around.”

The change seems to be in your wallet!

A zero waste lifestyle (or the attempt at one), is not something that just happens, it happens as we educate ourselves, grow, motivate each other and grow even more!

Everywhere we look we are told we should recycle.  If we recycle, we are doing our bit for the planet. But you soon discover recycling is not actually the answer. Reducing the packaging you buy, that needs to be recycled, that is the answer. Just because something is recyclable doesn’t mean it gets recycled. We need to give more thought to what happens to things we purchase & consume not just when they are in our hands. What happens to that plastic bag or tin after you have placed it in the recycling bin?

greener-grassYou then start thinking further, about who is producing your food, how they are doing it and what effect their processes have on our planet.  Whilst we should be super conscious of what we eat, what we buy, our waste, our electricity, water and fuel consumption … what about the shops and organisations we support?  If they are not making careful and considerate choices behind the scenes and doing the best they can to care for the environment, should we be supporting them? For example, the restaurant that doesn’t even recycle, uses disposable cutlery, and sends tons of food waste to landfill and does who knows what else?! Should we be supporting them?

We have so much power in our wallets.  Give your support and hard earned money to the businesses who care; who care not just about you and giving you the best, but by doing their best for the environment at the same time. We each have the power to make a difference.  Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like we are making a difference – but trust me – we are!

The way we will make change is by being the change we want to see.  We need to not be discouraged when seeing other people using disposables, and by seeing all the litter. We need to just do our best with what we have.  Stay positive and just always do our best to vote with our wallets. It is so easy to get despondent when things don’t go as we hope, but this won’t benefit anyone.

I know, it is easier said than done.  I am not a crazy person who has taken leave of my corinthianssenses. But we really can make change by making better choices and voting with our wallets. Be brave. If your local store is not meeting your needs, let them know.  Don’t be a whinge bag about it, but just let them know that you love their products/service, and want to see them do well, and suggest some changes.  Don’t be disheartened when you don’t hear what you want to hear. Put yourself in their shoes, they might have thought they were doing fantastically (with what they knew). Just stay positive.  You have done your bit by letting them know, rather than just not supporting them without giving them a chance.

There is a South African website called Eco Atlas; a platform for ethical businesses to advertise their establishments or products, as long as they meet certain criteria. If you are going on holiday, why not choose a guest house who has proven to make good choices.  Also see what shops, products or restaurants are in your local area.  Maybe you know a business that should be listed, nominate them!

Eco Atlas is a great platform to help us seek out the organisations who are really doing their best to care for our earth and it’s people and animals.  Help Eco Atlas grow to make it easier for people all over the country to educate and motivate each other and vote with their wallets. Also check out their Facebook page, lots of info to educate and inspire change.

No I am not saying you mustn’t recycle – I am saying stop buying so much stuff that needs to be recycled.  I am saying you must reduce your single use packaging, especially plastic.

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Some basic water saving tips in South Africa

JoJo Water South AfricaMost parts of our beautiful country are in desperate need of rain.  There have been many prayer meetings and posts circulating about it, but unfortunately, when we do then get a bit of rain, we all seem to quickly forget!  But we still have not had nearly enough rain.

Many dams are still bone dry, many towns have no water or water restrictions.  Farmers crops (our food), are still suffering as are animals, both farm and those in the wild.  The Vaal dam is currently at 27%! The Vaal supplies the Gauteng area – so every time you switch on your tap – you are contributing to the emptying of this dam!

There are a gazillion different ways to save water – here are just some of the super easy ones.  Another idea – print off a picture of the dam or farmers suffering crop and stick it on your fridge or in your bathroom cabinet.  Or put a memo up to remind yourselves to continually pray for rain.

In the bathroom:

  • Make sure you have the water reducing tap and shower heads.
  • Shower rather than bath
  • Take navy showers (switch off water between soaping, shaving, scrubbing etc)
  • Keep a bucket at your feet to collect water whilst showering
  • Place a water saving “brick” or bottle filled with water in the cistern
  • Place a tub under tap to collect water whilst waiting for it to get hot
  • If it’s yellow let it mellow ….
  • Fine family members for taking long showers!

In the kitchen:

  • Place a tub under tap to collect water whilst waiting for it to get hot
  • Place soap on scourer and wash dishes, then quick rinse rather than filling sink with water
  • Wait till you have a load of dishes rather than bit by bit
  • Leave the tub in the sink to catch water from washing hands
  • Use eco friendly soap, then you can use dirty water to water plants

General:

  • Get a jojo or drum to collect rain water from gutters
  • If you can afford it – install a grey water system
  • Leave buckets / large tubs outside instead of storing indoors, to collect rainwater (amazing how fast these fill)
  • If you must wash your car, try and wash it on the lawn. Use a bucket of water (ideally water you have been collecting) rather and be super frugal with the hose.
  • Use lots of mulch in your flower and veg beds to keep moisture in.
  • When watering plants, only do so super early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Don’t use a hose to clean patios and driveways – use a broom
  • Don’t encourage water toys with kids – great opportunity to educate them why!
  • Educate kids on turning taps on gently and turning off tightly – and why.
  • Check all your taps and pipes for leaks and drips
  • When mowing the lawn, leave the cuttings on the lawn to cool the lawn and protect roots. Acts as a mulch.
  • Use drip irrigation rather than sprinklers where suitable

We can all play our part in saving water – where ever we are in the world, even when it is raining outside!

Feel free to share in the comments any other ideas of how you are saving water.

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