As awareness about the health benefits of staying hydrated has grown, bottled water sales have increased dramatically. Unfortunately, this trend may not be as healthy as it first seems.
Most water is bottled in disposable plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). In recent years, the consumption of disposable PET water bottles has soared to about 200 billion per year worldwide. Of the estimated 40-50 billion bottles used in the United States, less than 25% are recycled. The rest end up in landfills, where they may take up to 1000 years to decompose, or worse, as litter in waterways and other natural areas.
Not only does the low recycling rate create litter and contribute to overflowing landfills, it also contributes to the depletion of the world’s oil resources. PET is a petroleum product . 1.5 million barrels of oil – enough to run 100,000 cars for a year – are used every year to manufacture plastic bottles in the United States alone.
Finally, though staying hydrated is necessary for good health, PET water bottles are known to leach phthalates, a class of compounds that are suspected of causing certain types of cancer and reproductive disorders, into their contents.
One way to enjoy the health benefits of good hydration without harming the environment or putting your health at risk is to switch to reusable water bottles. There is a growing selection of safe, stylish, and eco-friendly reusable water bottles on the market today.
Types of Reusable Water Bottles
There are several different types of reusable water bottles.
Reused Disposable Water Bottles
Although it may help conserve resources, reusing the same disposable plastic water bottle can be dangerous to your health because the plastic in the bottle degrades over time, increasing the amount of phthalates leached into the water. Disposable plastic water bottle also are not dishwasher safe and are difficult to clean properly by hand, allowing bacteria to build up, especially in grooves.
Reusable Polycarbonate Water Bottles
Like PET bottles, polycarbonate bottles are petroleum based and can leach BPA, a compound linked to reproductive disorders, into water. For these reasons, despite their durability and light weight, they are not recommended.
Reusable Aluminum Water Bottles
Aluminum water bottles are lightweight, durable, and recyclable. However, because aluminum can affect the flavor of the contents, they often have plastic liners that may contain BPA. Make sure the bottle is BPA-free before purchasing.
Reusable Glass Water Bottles
There are some truly beautiful glass water bottles available on the market now that can add an elegant touch to dinner parties and other meals. However, glass water bottles are not recommended for sports or other active use because they are less durable than plastic or metal bottles and can cause serious injury if broken.
Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottles
For most people, the best choice of reusable water bottle is stainless steel water bottles. Stainless steel shares many of the same benefits of aluminum, but unlike aluminum, stainless steel does not affect the flavor of the contents and does not require a lining.
Five Great Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottles
One of the most popular manufacturers of stainless steel water bottles is Klean Kanteen. The Klean Kanteen 27 oz. bottle comes with a choice of a loop top or sports drinking cap made from non-toxic polypropylene. The design emphasizes function and practicality over fashion, but comes in a range of attractive colors, including green, pink, blue, black, red, white, and orange.
If you live in an area with bad tasting or unsafe tapwater, consider a beautiful EcoUsable filtered water bottle. The cool retro design of these stainless steel bottles hides a high quality filter with 100 gallon capacity, capable of removing 99.9% of pollutants, from lead and radon to sand and giardia. The bottles are available in blue, red, pink, purple, and more.
If you love beautiful design, you’ll love EarthLust bottles. These handsome stainless steel bottles feature beautiful earth-inspired designs such as the butterfly on this lovely 13 oz. EarthLust water bottle.
For commuters who need a water bottle that can double as a thermos, the Thinksport Thermal Sports Bottle is a great choice. The double walled, vacuum sealed stainless steel bottle keeps beverages hot or cold for hours and minimizes “sweating.”
Protect your kids from BPA and other toxins with 10 oz. stainless steel bottles from Crocodile Creek’s Eco Kids line. Perfect sized for little hands, these bottles feature bright, beautiful illustrations that kids will love.
Main Image Credit: snapr