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Bye, bye bottle: filtered water without the waste 

according to The Water Project, a nonprofit organization that addresses water crises, the average American spends more than $100 per year on bottled water. Those plastic bottles take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade. Malinda Hill, appliance specialist at Nordic Kitchens & Baths, says a home water filtration system promotes better health, which is especially true if it leads people to drink more water.

  "You know where your water is coming from and what is being removed from it," she says. "When you drink bottled water, you are not exactly sure where the water comes from or what has been removed."

  Here are greener, healthier and less expensive alternatives to bottled water.

click to enlarge Whirlpool EveryDrop PopOut filter and pitcher, $29.99 at Target.
  • Whirlpool EveryDrop PopOut filter and pitcher, $29.99 at Target.

Filter pitcher
Filter pitchers are refillable containers or carafes that house a charcoal filter within the lid. They can be stored in the refrigerator for people who prefer chilled water. The contaminants that are removed vary by model, but newer versions allow water to flow and filter at a faster rate than older designs.

click to enlarge Culligan faucet-mounted drinking water filter (FM­15A), $23.99 at Ace Hardware.
  • Culligan faucet-mounted drinking water filter (FM­15A), $23.99 at Ace Hardware.

Faucet­-mounted filters
A faucet­-mounted filter system requires little attention after installation. These systems attach to the faucet and allow water to pass through a carbon filter and directly into a pot, glass or reusable bottle. Most models filter sediment, chlorine and lead, while improving the taste and removing odor. Filters should be replaced every two months, are easy to find and cost less than bottled water.

click to enlarge APEC Essence 5­Stage 50 GPD reverse osmosis drinking water system (ROES­50) $199.99 at The Home Depot.
  • APEC Essence 5­Stage 50 GPD reverse osmosis drinking water system (ROES­50) $199.99 at The Home Depot.

Reverse osmosis system
Though pitchers and faucet-­mounted filters are inexpensive, most are not able to filter bacteria, pesticides or pharmaceuticals. Reverse osmosis systems can filter those contaminants and more, thanks to a .0001 micron membrane. The filtered water is typically dispensed from a faucet installed through the countertop area.

Specialty system
For the ultimate drinking water experience, pair a home filtration system with a specialty system such as the Exubera Sparkling and Chilled Water Appliance ($2,699.91 at Nordic Kitchens & Baths). It produces sparkling water from a system equipped with a carbon dioxide canister and the carbonation level can be customized to create Italian sodas, cocktails and more.

Home delivery
People who would rather not deal with replacing filters may prefer a home delivery service. Three­- or 5-­gallon bottles are delivered to customers' doors; just set the empty containers outside for pickup and replacement. The water is dispensed via tabletop or stand­alone cooler and is served chilled, hot or room temperature, depending on the dispenser model.

  Toni Guthrie, customer service manager and private label manager at Aquiana Springs Water, says Aquiana is delivered to homes and businesses citywide.

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