I admit: I have a very intense sweet tooth. When it came time to kick soda cans and bottles to the curb, I had a bunch of zero waste soda alternatives lined up to try beforehand. Some I’ve stuck with, some I haven’t, but I figured I’d share the options to help someone else avoid the tin can pile-up.
This list of zero waste soda alternatives includes only the fizzy drinks as – for me – that can be the only thing that truly kicks a soda craving to the curb. My other go-to drinks are fruit and herb infused water, cold brew coffee, and hot or iced tea mixed with a simple syrup of choice.
Here’s four ways to kick your soda can habits and find zero waste soda alternatives, from easiest to most difficult.
Fill up from a soda machine
This is a pretty simple one that most people fail to consider. If you’re out and about, just use your own container to fill up from a soda machine in a store or gas station. When we road tripping out to Indiana, I did that in a McDonald’s and a gas station. You’ll get weird looks, but it works. (It’s better to do it in gas stations or places where they don’t hand you cups over the counter – less questioning and bargaining that way.)
Plus, it restricts you from bring soda into your house. That being said…
How ballsy are you? If you’ve got no social shame, bring a super large container and ask them if you can fill it up for the price of a few large sodas. Why not, right? Then you can store it in your fridge and enjoy later.
Still, that alternative fills you up with too much corn syrup from ethically-corrupt corporations, so there are definitely better alternatives…
Invest in a carbonation machine
If you’re really desperate for a fizzy drink but don’t want to put in the time, there are products like the SodaStream available. If you’ve got room in your kitchen for another gadget with only a single function, these machines can carbonate water from the tap. After that, you can add different flavored simple syrups to give it a taste.
I also like that SodaStream offers a trade-in program for their carbonators at certain stores and you only pay “gas price” for your next canister. As far as I can tell from their FAQ, the company then reuses and refills the canisters. This option makes the SodaStream a significantly cheaper option than soda after the initial machine investment.
(SodaStreams are also one of those things very easy to find second hand, so look around.)
Definitely not my first pick as I try to avoid single-function machines in my tiny kitchen, but a good step down for those with a serious soda addition.
Ginger beer is a delicious drink you can make using just ginger, water, and sugar. The fizz and lightness makes it a perfect summer drink. The ginger beer gets its fizz from a “ginger bug” which you need to make at least five days in advance so it has time to ferment.
Once you have that, though, it’s a pretty simple process. Your zero waste ginger beer will be ready after about two days – taste to see if you like where it’s at. The longer it sits out, the more alcoholic it will get. Once you’re satisfied, toss it into the fridge and drink within a week.
You know what? Just head over to my post about making your own ginger beer to get the full scoop. Easy and delicious, what could be better?
NB: ginger beer is not really alcoholic if not left to ferment for very long – like, I’d definitely feel OK giving the stuff to a kid. It is important to be aware there is a small alcohol content that you can’t gauge without proper measurement. Just FYI.
Ah, kombucha. The healthiest, gut-happiest alternative out of all of these zero waste soda alternatives.
When I first tried kombucha, I loathed it. Store-bought kombucha tends to be very bitter and flavored with some strange combos I just can’t get behind. I slowly got used to store-bought kombucha, but it wasn’t until I went to a class and got my own SCOBY that I realized how customizable kombucha really was.
Want it super sweet? Want it with a little or a lot of carbonation? Want a special flavor? You can do it all!
Kombucha seems difficult but, like ginger beer, once you get the hang of it is very simple. You just need some black tea, sugar, water, a SCOBY, and time. After a few rounds of making it, you’ll start to understand what you like or don’t like and can tweak the process as needed.
NB: I have approximately seven million SCOBYs growing in my kitchen. They are able to be sent by mail, so if you want one for a very small fee please let me know! I’m happy to send them on their way!
Are you a hardcore soda lover, or was it easy to kick the habit? What drinks can you recommend that are a good alternative to soda?