It seems we've been seeing these charcoal purifiers everywhere lately. While the Binchotan Coal Purifier you see above appears black, it's actually white charcoal made from Japanese oak that was heated in an oxygen-starved kiln until it turned to carbon. Place one of these sticks in a jug of water and it will absorb chlorine and unpleasant tastes and odors while infusing your water with natural minerals...
The black sticks are very delicate, like porcelain. We think they're beautiful, actually — a vast improvement over a plastic Brita water jug! One stick will last about 3 months, and at the end of its life you can crush it and mix it with soil so plants can benefit from it.
The coal sticks are in packs of 3 (water vase sold separately), and are available from Design Within Reach for $25 or Merchant No. 4 for $20 on sale.
DWR carries a range of white charcoal products, including also the Chikutan Coal Water Purifier made from Japanese bamboo, the Hakutan Coal Air Purifier and the Kuro Coal Refrigerator Cube made from Korean oak.
Via The New York Times Style Magazine