Its easy to give up bottled water in England but what of when you are abroad? in countries where the water is not so reliable? India for example.

I have travelled a lot in India and over the years have seen plastic pollution rise to horrific levels. A lot of that plastic rubbish is empty drinking water bottles many of them discarded by tourists. I refuse to drink bottled water because I don’t want to add to the plastic pollution.

But you might also want to consider this;  some of the drinking water bottles in India, claiming to contain purified water have been refilled with tap water. There are recurring reports about this and  it seems to be a fairly common scam. Empty water bottles are collected, refilled with tap water (if you are lucky), and the cap glued back on. To quote from but one source, “You cannot rely on the bottled water available in public places in India, because of the rampant refilling of used bottled water bottles by the racketeers in India.”

So what to do? The steri pen is my solution to that particular problem. Stick the sticky bit in a liter of water – switch on and 90 seconds later the water is safe to drink. Works by UV light.UV light destroys virtually all viruses, bacteria and protozoa. It weighs next to nothing and is tiny.

It kills


A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms.

  • Hepatitis


Bacteria are microscopic living organisms, usually one-celled, that can be found everywhere.

  • Campylobacter
  • Cholera –
  • Escherichia coli –E coli
  • Legionella –
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella


Protozoan parasites live in the cells and tissues of other living creatures. Protozoans can cause problems, from targeting the central nervous system to diarrhea.

  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia

It Does Not Filter Water

This is not a filtration system. It does not remove  other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts, chlorine or physical dirt. You have to find clear water. I usually use it on tap water or fresh water.


I have used it the world over to sterilise tap water and river water.  I had no tummy troubles at all – which was rather a shame as I was depending on a bout of Delhi Belly to help with my weight loss programme.

Charging It Solar, Battery or USB?

You can choose from solar, battery operated or USB rechargeable Steripens. I have tried them all. The solar charger was way to slow and I quickly had to find an alternative. However that was some time ago and things might have improved. The battery powered was the only option available to me when I bought my first PEN. The batteries (CR123) can sometimes be hard to find abroad though of course it very much depends on where you are. On the plus side the batteries do last a long time ( longer than a charge), but they do present disposal problems and it is not always possible to find a safe place to bin them.

This time I went for the rechargeable Freedom PEN which can be charged via a USB port. I am pleased with it. It holds the charge for days though that obviously depends on how much water you sterilise.

Other Benefits

On a long trip it soon pays for itself and then goes on to save you a considerable sum

You never run out of water. You may not be able to buy water or boil it. That’s the time you are glad you got a SteriPEN.

It doesn’t change the taste of the water – which is not always a plus point!


You will need a water bottle with a wide neck to accommodate the width of the PEN as it needs to be submerged in water.

It will do 1 or 1/2 a litre of water at a time. Get a bottle that is one or the other. We found half a litre of water each was as much as we needed to carry.  With a PEN we can always sterilise more when needed.

For more information visit the steriPEN site and check out great reviews of the product here and here.

Find out all about refill points, filters and other water related information here.


You can buy a SteriPEN in the UK  at shops, on line and of course Amazon.

Travel Plasticfree

Here’s the rest of our plastic free travel stuff and useful tips

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