Water is essential to life, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars on bottled water every year in order to enjoy pure drinking water. Whether bottled from the source or obtained from your kitchen tap, water is susceptible to contamination. Drinking water quality varies among supplies for a wide range of reasons, as the location of the water can be high in acidic or alkaline minerals, metals or other microorganisms. For example, in 2009, Fionn Unisce had to recall its supply due to E. coli contamination. According to AllAboutWater.org, Americans spent more than $7 million on bottled water in 2003, which means we were paying more than $1 per bottle. With outrageous gas prices and the increased cost of living, water is one necessity you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for. Enter Guyot Designs, which has put its passion for environmental responsibility and corporate ethics into functional yet simple designs, and the TapGuard may be one product you won’t want to live without. Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day has numerous health benefits, but when you’re rushing to work, slipping in a session at the gym or commuting on and off all day, the thought of bottled water offers you convenience, right? In addition to the ease of toting water in a handheld container, you might think the water is safer to drink. Unless you’re willing to put on the detective hat and investigate the source of the water and its certification, you can’t really be sure if it’s free of impurities. TapGuard provides a convenient and safe solution to drinking water on the go, so you can put a stop to that wasteful habit of purchasing 12- and 24-pack cases of bottled water. TapGuard is a portable water bottle filter designed by the President and CEO of Guyot Designs, Sloan Russell and Joshua Guyot, respectively. This product is made to fit into standard water bottles, and the activated carbon filters remove 95% of chlorine — a common chemical used in water treatment plants. Along with chlorine, it also filters out iodine and other organic chemicals. More good news: The design is BPA– and polycarbonate-free, and the carbon cartridges last for up to 100 liters of water, which means you only need to replace it every two to three months. The carbon is extracted from charred coconut husks in the Philippines, but the carbon filter itself is actually made in the U.S. One concern with this product is durability, particularly with the carbon filter. While it improves the taste of the water and is easy to install, one backpacker experienced repeated accounts of the carbon filter breaking. However, the insert is made from sturdy, food-grade silicone, and each TapGuard carries enough carbon offsets to account for more than 50 pounds of certifiable greenhouse gas emission reductions. From reducing your exposure to chemicals, to decreasing the amount of plastic trash, this nifty gadget tackles two important drinking water issues. All you have to do is insert the TapGuard into a water bottle, fill up and enjoy drinking freshly filtered water without spills. This is one reusable solution to staying hydrated in a healthy and inexpensive way.