90 BILLION Bottles and Cans used in USA last year*


I have a CO2 Charger from Soda Club USA ( Soda Club International ) to carbonate filtered tap water. I buy concentrated syrup flavors from Prairie Moon Beverage Company in 4oz 120mL bottles. I sweeten with Generic Aspartame (Equal). I've never used sugar, so I'll provide a link to the syrup company's recipe page.

I estimate a 16oz 450mL Soft Drink costs me about 17 cents.


Soda Charger from Soda Club International
Concentrated Soda Flavors from Prairie Moon Beverage
Generic Aspartame, or Sugar, Sweet-n-Low, Splenda,...
Recycled glass bottle for Syrup (I use Snapple Bottles)


Concentrated Syrup Flavors: Quantity discount ........ 24 - 4oz 120mL bottles @ $2.79 each
NatraTaste (same as NutraSweet or Equal) On Sale ...... 4.2 oz 120g 120 packets @ $3.00 each
CO2 Charger ...... $79.99+$19.99 S&H
* One Time Charge for Carbonation Machine & 2 Carbonating Bottles
* Includes 2 refillable cylinders of CO2 makes 60 Liters of Carbonated Water ea.
* Divide the start up cost of the charger it is about 83.3 cents per Liter for first 120L
* For gas refills the cost goes down to about 50 cents per Liter.
* Watch for sales - I got free shipping. Right now gas refills are on sale for 1/2 price

When I amortize out the cost of the Carbonater I am saving money

Here are the REAL savings that I love:

I don't have a car. Carrying home big bottles is a pain
Grocery delivery option costs too much also
I don't have to go to the grocery as often
I don't need as much fridge/cabinet space
I can sweeten to my preference
I can reduce the flavor for a lighter soda
No Caffeine (some premixed syrup is Caffeinated)
I can drink plain soda or any of 6 flavors right now (could easily be more)
* 61 flavors are available!
I can just flavor the soda water with a lime, lemon or orange
I also like unflavored seltzer
Fruit Juice and seltzer mixed half and half tastes great.
I don't have to deal with recycling
I don't need to store anything except the charger and back up cylinder
In the fridge
* 6 Snapple bottles of syrup,
* 2 1 Liter bottles of plain soda
* 12 - 4oz 120mL bottles of concentrated syrup -
* * lined up at the back, or side, of one shelf they consume 1.75" depth
Fridge savings aren't only space, but also electricity

Public benefits I like:

City doesn't have to deal with my recycling: driving to dump, separating etc
No factory recycling my bottles
Trucks aren't driving water from a factory, to a store, and then to my house.
Grocery isn't storing soda
Grocery isn't air conditioning soda space
* I think a rack of 4oz bottles could replace the space with maybe 3' width?
Bottle company employees, trucker, stock clerk & Cashier in grocery do not have to
lug around big bottles
Giving my business to entrepreneur (Prairie Moon) instead of huge soda companies

There are probably more reasons. That's just how it works for me and why I like it.

In the following steps, I'll show how I mix syrups, carbonate water and make sodas.


There are huge possibilities for cost differences. I like a lightly flavored, lightly sweetened, highly carbonated soda. If you like a different style your costs and measurements will be different.

Costs change drastically with quantity also. I can only tell you what it costs for me.

*I rounded all Metric conversions to what I think is probably the common size used.

* * For example the 4oz bottle of concentrate actually contains 118mL. I used 120mL for the calculations.

* * A single serving in the U.S. is 16oz, that is 473mL. I used 450mL for the single serving conversion as I think that is the standard size used in many countries.

Please let me know if you find a large error. Small mismatches in conversions are probably because of the simplification of measures.

*Soda Club USA

Step 1: Ordering and using the Soda Siphon/Charger/Carbonater

I bought my Carbonator / Soda Siphon / CO2 Charger from Soda Club USA ( Soda Club International ) to carbonate filtered tap water. Carbonater does not use electricity.

They have several different models to chose from. My model takes a 33oz gas cylinder. This will carbonate about 110L of cold water.

My original order included the carbonating machine, two gas cylinders and two carbonating bottles.

Soda Club's large gas cylinders are refillable. This is better than the most common type of soda siphon that uses one time use, individual charger cartridges for each Liter of water.

Soda Club sells the chargers with two cylinders so you can continue using the charger while waiting for an empty cylinder to be refilled. You can also purchase additional back up cylinders.

My order was delivered in 2 days. From what I understand, they have local folks as local distributors. These individuals will exchange your cylinder when it is empty. You do not need to ship, or mail it in anywhere. Place the order and you will receive a date when the delivery is scheduled. Leave the cylinder by your front door and it is magically full when you come back home. Reminds me of the Milk Man when I was a kid.

I suppose I might get faster service because I'm in San Francisco, an Eco friendly big city.

The system also came with two Soda Club bottles. These are heavy plastic bottles that I fill with (only) cold water and then mount on the machine and carbonate. There are suggestions on most Make your Own soda sites, to carbonate these full bottles of water and then add syrup to have a bottle of flavored Soft Drink.

I prefer to keep only water in the bottles. When I want a soft drink, I pour one ounce of syrup into a glass and fill it the rest of the way with carbonated water.

This way I can keep many different flavors of syrup on hand to make into a soft drink in an instant.
I also can drink the carbonated water as just clear seltzer, use a squeeze of lemon, or dilute fruit juices half and half. There are many suggestions to use carbonated water on stains (I haven't tested this).

If you would rather have full bottles of soft drinks, you can order additional charger bottles from Soda Club.

How to charge a liter of water

Warning - do not attempt to charge anything but water. Other liquids will cause a mess.
There is a line on the side of the bottle that shows the fill level.

Add cold filtered water to this line.

Screw the bottle onto the charger.

Depress the button on the top.

The charger will make a loud noise when fully charged. You can depress the button a few more times if you like more carbonation.

Unscrew the bottle from the charger and put the cap on.

Pretty simple.

Colder water holds more carbonation.

Machine service and maintenance

I've found the surface to be easy to wipe clean if I splatter it with something (It is on my kitchen counter). Because you only carbonate clean water, there is no cleaning of any kind necessary.

When the gas cylinder is empty:
* Unscrew the empty cylinder
* Replace with the full spare cylinder
* Put the cover back on the machine
* Put the empty cylinder in the box you just removed the new one from
* Order a gas refill by phone or on the internet
* On your delivery date, put your gas cylinder outside your door. Don't wrap or box it up.
* A full cylinder will be exchanged for the empty one

These cylinders are refilled over and over. This is so much better than the single use cartridges that are disposed or recycled.


There are huge possibilities for cost differences. I like a lightly flavored, lightly sweetened, highly carbonated soda. If you like a different style your costs and measurements will be different.

Costs change drastically with quantity also. I can only tell you what it costs for me.

*I rounded all Metric conversions to what I think is probably the common size used.

* * For example the 4oz bottle of concentrate actually contains 118mL. I used 120mL for the calculations.

* * A single serving in the U.S. is 16oz, that is 473mL. I used 450mL for the single serving conversion as I think that is the standard size used in many countries.

Please let me know if you find a large error. Small mismatches in conversions are probably because of the simplification of measures.

<p>sounds amazing to drink but still looks expend!!!</p>
I have a carbonator and some Italian syrup. I would like to make soda at home and I have read that citric acid is needed to give it that soda tangy taste. Does anyone have a recipe for making soda from syrup?
I also use a sodastream carbonator but I was not impressed by the included soda syrups. I purchased Torani Italian soda syrups in multiple flavors, raspberry, lemon, ginger, ad hazelnut. to make a glass first pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the syrup in a glass of ice. Then fill it with carbonated water and add 1-2 tablespoons of half and half or heavy cream.
Not the same I like store bought better nice instructable though!
I have a SodaStream that looks almost the same as that. It is great you can even buy pre-made syrups with the sugar in them if you are feeling extra lazy! It was one of the best kitchen gadgets I've ever gotten! Making your own syrup flavours by boiling fruit juices and sugar down is fun too!
you can get Sodastream. <br>SodaStream has a refillable/replaceable gas bottle and <br>you can take it to the specialised shop (in my case, Australia has Big W) <br>and i'm pretty sure u can use any flavour.... <br>you can get a SodaStream pack, which has a CO2 injector, flavour samples and a SodaStream soda bottle
These are my favorite recipes :P http://howtohacklife101.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-make-drinks.html
"Generic Aspartame, or Sugar, Sweet-n-Low, Splenda,..." Should be a disclaimer here. Chemicals aren't meant for consumption
If you're drinking soda artificial sweeteners are the last thing you should be worriedabout.The studies on hfcs are much worse.By your logic food is not for human consumption.Being that everything in nature is chemicals
Do an internet search for Stevia Natural Spring Water Flavor.<br>Stevia is an all natural sweetener
You are right mate. Before using Aspartame you should Google it.
but when you buy a diet soda the sweetener is aspertame, equal and sweet-n-low are bot aspertame. I believe what he is referring to is store-brand fake sugar.
does it taste as good as coke? or does it taste homemade?
I like the flavors a lot. Coke, Pepsi and other colas all have little flavor differences. The Cola from flavor is also it's own cola taste. I like it just as well as the commercial brands.
Unfortunately there are "epicures" such as my wife who can tell the difference among the varieties of cola-flavored drink. About 20 years ago we were able to get authentic Coke syrup from the guy who sold us our old home soda maker (Scandinavian - I forget the name). We haven't found any distributors since who will sell Coke syrup in home-use lots. If anyone here has any information on whom to contact for genuine Coke Classic syrup, I'd be very grateful.
You could contact a restaurant distributor, they are really big companies, the one the restaurant I worked for used provided for half my province, although I suspect they'd refuse you or charge prohibitive costs. The better way would be to become friendly with a restaurant manager that serve it in fountain and ask if he could get an extra syrup box for you next order although s/he might make some money off that so try a few places.
Check out warehouse stores (SAMs Costco) They have Bag in Box for Soda Fountains ... you can use that for your &quot;home made&quot; soda. Brand name will be +/- $100 generic +/- $40. This is for 5 Gallon size.<br>
Sam's Club eats you alive on syrup bags - not because they're greedy - COKE corporate doesn't cut 'em a break. There are TONS more restaurants in any town than there are SAMS clubs. COKE knows who butters their bread and they are NOT about to screw themselves or their bottling companies or distributors. Best advice: make a friend of some restaurant owner. Tell him what you want, which is a 5-gallon BIB (bag-in-a-box) of Coke syrup. You'll save a bundle. Pour it off into quart jars, cap 'em &amp; put 'em in the fridge. They'll last a HECK of a lot longer than Coke's stated shelf-life. If they 'set up', do the same thing you'd do with expensive maple syrup - set the quart jars in 3&quot;&nbsp;of water and heat until the syrup dissolves &amp; is fully blended.<br /> <br /> The guys who have awesome systems consisting of bulk co2 tanks (5#, 10#, 20# or larger) enjoy the least cost co2 and likely make the lowest cost drinks. If you can't afford that right now (or you don't have room for it all), get yourself an inexpensive <a href="http://www.FizzGiz.com" rel="nofollow">Fizz Giz system</a> and a couple of refillable 16-gram co2 cartridges and make friends with someone who can furnish you with cheap co2. Buying the little 16g disposable co2 bulbs is more expensive and harsher on the environment. But that's your only choice if you cannot afford a &quot;SuperSystem&quot; like SFHandyMan's. It is truly nice. Google for &quot;Fizz Giz&quot; or <a href="mailto:MrFizz@FizzGiz.com?subject=Regarding%20your%20Fizz%20Giz%20comments%20on%20Instructables.com%20...&amp;body=Dear%3A%20Mr.%20Fizz%3A" rel="nofollow">send 'em an eMail</a>. They'll send you a free Fizz Giz valve cap to look at if you're curious. Just ask 'em in your letter. The elastomeric valves in their caps are shown in the attached pic.<br /> <br /> Hopefully you got something out of all this. If you follow my lead, you'll end up with two new friends - a restaurateur and a homebrew hobbyist - two great friends to have in my book. Google for local brew clubs in your area. Bye.<br />
Hi there, <br>Thanks for a really great 'ible! <br>Perhaps some readers could help me with a related problem of my own... <br>I recently aquired some 20L containers of concentrated &quot;sweet flavouring&quot; (I assume for making sweets) and since its in flavours that I like as soda, I was wondering if they could be made to work as soda flavouring - admittedly my first attempts have been horrible, just turning to foam, and watery flavoured when I reduce the concentration.... but perhaps some readers have more experiance with the product?
take 1 oz of water, add 1- 2 drops of your flavoring... try it. if it is ok then that is how to mix it before you carbonate your drink if it is 10 drops per ounce then add 160 drops per 16 oz bottle ( I would measure the 160 drops maybe it is a tablespoon)<br> Another tip is take your flavoring add it to the empty bottle &amp; freeze it. Chill the water until it is almost freezing. Fill your plastic bottle to the top of the label, squeeze the bottle until it has no air ( almost none) inside &amp; cap. Then fill with 50-80 PSI of CO2.<br> Enjoy
For some reason putting more sugar into soda makes it more fizzier (to me it did).
Just FYI: in Europe (metric system and all), bottles usually come in 0.5, 1, 1.5 and 2 litre units. A regular &quot;small&quot; fizzy drink/juice/mineral water bottle would be 500ml. (There are also 0.33 bottles but they aren't that common..)
I've been making my own soda pop for years. It's great fun, saves money, and you can make some wild flavors - my own concoctions include dreamsicle, cookies and cream, and banana split soda pops! I bought a unit called SodaQuick for doing the forced carbonation method. They use the same canisters as paintball guns, so it's even cheaper to refill. Oh and don't believe that "food grade" CO2 nonsense - pure CO2 is pure CO2. Restaurants buy CO2 from welder supply companies for their soda machines - paintball suppliers buy their CO2 from the SAME welder supply companies! Another very cheap way to make soda pop is to brew it using champagne yeast, sugar, flavoring, water, and clean empty 2 liter bottles. Most grocery stores sell the flavors. For a cheap caffeine free homemade Mt. Dew knockoff mix 2 packets of lemon lime Koolaid with 1 pack of lemonade Kooaid, sweeten with sugar or Splenda.
are you from the south?
Uhm, yeah - how did you know? I didn't think I wrote with an accent...
because you say soda pop. On the west coast, we say "soda" or "coke". On the east coast, they say "pop". In the south, you say "soda pop"
That's why I defaulted to "Soft Drinks".
Good choice. =D<br/>
Agreed! ^_^
In the midwest it is just Pop.
I say soda or else no one would know what i meant. I used to say Pop when i was a little kid.
Nah, in the south we say soda or coke. No one uses &quot;pop&quot; or any variety there of unless they're trying to make a point they're not from the area. But &quot;pick up some cokes&quot; normally means &quot;pick up a coca-cola and something else as well.&quot; Ah, the subtleties of soda dialect...
Just like i know killerjackalope is british.
oops, 4got the pics...<br />
10:4 on the 'food grade co2', sharkwater. I&nbsp;agree with you. If you take crystal clear 'food grade' water and pour it in the toilet, it's gonna be a while before it's 'food grade' and fit for human consumption again.<br /> <br /> Same thing goes for co2. If you have pure co2 and you put it into a dirty, greasy bottle lined with leftover petroleum distillates used as lubricants during the mfg process, you end up with dirty greasy smelling co2. When <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7FgKkPHc1E" rel="nofollow">deep drawing the little co2 bulbs</a>, the mild plate steel is constantly under a slurry of lubricant wash to prevent the parts being made from getting hung up &amp;&nbsp;stuck in the dies &amp; other equipment. Some companies take the trouble to wash &amp; steam clean the inside of the bulbs (before adding the co2) as well as the outside. Some don't. If the bulb is intended for use in a bb-gun, pellet rifle, paintball gun or airsoft gun - a bit of oily residue probably serves some useful purpose in a gun barrel. But if used to make a lightly sweetened Key Lime Fizz - it is likely to taste more like a Kerosene Cocktail than a refreshing soda. I've seen a local gas supply company fill medical-grade co2 bottles, co2 fire extinguishers, large 50# co2 cylinders for paintball service shops and restaurant food-grade co2 source bottles - all from the same identical bulk storage tank. That company sold all kinds of industrial gases, including those used by welders.<br /> <br /> Don't know what kind of carbonation system you have. I know you mentioned natural carbonation method with yeast. I've done that and I&nbsp;like it. But the thing I&nbsp;use mostly (because it's fast &amp; I'm impatient) is the FizzGiz. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIjdo7UnWmg" rel="nofollow">Check out the 20-second demo</a>. Attached is a picture of the co2 dispenser &amp; bottle caps. Reuse common soda bottles, the dispenser &amp;&nbsp;the caps and an ice-cold Limey Mint Fizz.<br />
"Food Grade"? That's crazy. I wouldn't have fallen for that. I did know about brewing to get carbonation. The flavors sound fun. Thanks.
Yeah, the Soda Quick distributor tried to tell me that his CO2 was "food grade" quality lol! He was trying to get me to buy CO2 only from him. I forgot to mention another way to make soda pop - the dry ice method. (Dry ice is of course frozen CO2). Buying it could get expensive, you can get your hands on some free dry ice at your grocery store. Ice cream vendors ship their product packed in dry ice. The grocery store just throws it out, so if you're friendly with the manager he'll probably just give it to you. You have to wear gloves for safety and work quickly since dry ice melts fast, but all you do is break off chunks add it to plastic bottles with cold water and refrigerate. When you're ready to drink add flavoring and enjoy!
recipe for dry ice soda bomb? really?
Well, if you add too much dry ice it will explode - of course if you let the yeast ferment too long in the brewing method it will explode too. This is why you use PLASTIC bottles, if you screw up you’ll just make a mess.
So many fun Ideas. The SQ distributor maybe fell for it and didn't know the difference, or lack of difference in this instance.
If you us yeast wouldn't the "soda" contain alcohol?
Technically yes but it is a VERY small amount of alcohol – about the same amount you’d find in a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. You only brew it for a couple of days anyway. Of course you use champagne yeast because it produces a lot of CO2 and only trace amounts of alcohol during that time.
Something very cool that I found was an instructable about making your own carbinator (SP)&nbsp;It would work nicely with this :)&nbsp;I&nbsp;enjoy making carbonated watermelon kool-aid.&nbsp; Very nice BTW :)
They do, but you're going to pay $5 for 12 liters worth. I think the Prairie Moon syrup concentrates are a much better value overall, but if you're a caffeine addict like me you'll need to find an alternative.
I agree. I didn't like the soda club syrups much anyway. I like being able to control the sweetness.
First there is my caveat: I have not read all the comments on this instructable, if I am duplicating information; I ask your forgiveness. As far as bulk sweetener availability: Splenda sells it in a large bag in the baking section. In AZ, I buy mine at Fry's (Kroger) or Safeway (Ralph's, Vons, etc.) Coca Cola syrup over ice is an old remedy for nausea and vomiting. I used to buy it off the shelf in the pharmacy. Last time I bought it I had to ask the pharmacist for it's location and it had changed to being stocked behind the pharmacist's counter. Ask your pharmacy for it. The three major flavors in the brand Coke are: cherry,cinnamon and lemon (if memory serves me correctly.) I learned this so long ago, if I have made any error it is in the last flavor, which maybe vanilla. I am reasonably certain it is lemon. However, Coke will not say what ratio their mix is. All you coke afficianados (my choice of brand) can play with the flavoring and come up with your private brand. Hope this helps someone.
Costco also has large bags of sweetener... I personally don't like fake sugars (they just taste bad) so I don't know which ones they have but I know I've seen like 25lb (or larger) bags of sugar.
Thanks. I'm sure folks will find it helpful.
Just a note regarding using Prairie Moon cola syrup - it does not contain caffeine. I'm not saying that's good or bad (to me it's bad, but to someone else that might be great news) so if you're looking to approximate the stimulant qualities of commercial colas, you'll need to add your own. Fortunately pure caffeine is easy to find (don't crush up No-Doz, they have fillers) but it can be dangerous because the amounts you need to add are small and precise.
You are right. I avoid caffeine so that is good for me. There are Soda Club syrups with caffeine.

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