New designer water filter produced from PLA-based bioplastic

Sustainability was a top priority for Soma founder Mike Del Ponte, in the development of the Soma water filter system. His Soma filter, which comes with its own shatter-resistant glass carafe, features an ergonomic and esthetic design boasting a bioplastic housing and using catalytic activated coconut shell carbon as a filtration medium. Its designers say it's the "first 100 percent compostable" filtration system on the market.

Sustainability was a top priority for Soma founder Mike Del Ponte, in the development of the Soma water filter system. His Soma filter, which comes with its own shatter-resistant glass carafe, features an ergonomic and esthetic design boasting a bioplastic housing and using catalytic activated coconut shell carbon as a filtration medium. Its designers say it's the "first 100 percent compostable" filtration system on the market.

The San Francisco-based designers of Soma spent a long time searching for a suitable material for the filter unit. This material needed to be functional, but also made from renewable resources and biodegradable when disposed of. As it turned out, a Bio-Flex product from bioplastics specialist FKuR proved to be able to meet these requirements to the designers' satisfaction. The Bio-Flex S 9533 used in the manufacture of the water filter was developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer UMSICHT and FKuR and is based on the bioplastic PLA (polylactic acid).

"For us it was important to develop a material running on conventional injection molding equipment," explains Hendrik Roch, Fraunhofer UMSICHT. But pure PLA is rigid with relatively low impact strength. "By means of an intelligent additive package and our special compounding technology we have been able to develop a PLA compound meeting all requirements," says Carmen Michels, Managing Director of FKuR.

Customers purchasing the Soma filter automatically subscribe to the company's filter program, under which they receive a fresh filter from Soma every 60 days. The program is not yet available to customers oversea, but "we're working on it", says the company. For each filter sold, Soma donates to the nonprofit organization 'charity: water', which provides access to clean drinking water to people in need.

The filter is proven to reduce chlorine, taste and odor through its special filter system and fulfills all requirements of the NSF/ANSI standard 42 of the Water Quality Association.

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