How to Choose a Safe and Reusable Water Bottle
Drinking plenty of water is among the best things you can do for your health. Switching from a disposable to reusable water bottle is among the best things you can do for the planet. How do you choose the best water bottle? Check out our tips before you go shopping.
Water bottles come in disposable and non-disposable plastic, metal and glass. Most carry about a liter. Choosing the best bottle depends on how you'll use it and personal style. You want it to be lightweight, unbreakable, keep your water cold and fresh tasting and minimize condensation. You want it to fit in your purse, tote, and standard cup holders and to look good on your desk or table. It also has to be easy to clean. Most importantly, you want to make sure it's not made of toxic materials that might be dangerous for you or the environment.
Plastic Water Bottles are lightweight and travel well. While our favorite plastic bottles are re-usable, sometimes disposable is the most practical option.
- Disposable: Americans add about 50 billion disposable plastic water bottles to the landfill every year. Refilling them is OK (once or twice), but their small mouths make cleaning them a challenge and repeated use causes cracks in the plastic. If they're made from polycarbonate plastic or polyethylene terephthalate, they may contain the toxic chemicals DEHP and BHA, both linked to cancer, reproductive disorders, and other health and environmental hazards. These chemicals can leach into the water. Disposable bottles made with recyclable, BPA-free plastics or compostable materials like cornstarch are a better choice.
- Non-disposable: If you've been toting the same wide-mouthed, rigid, and/or clear plastic bottle for years, it might be time for something new. Older plastics were commonly made with BPA. How can you tell? Look for the triangle with a number located on the bottom of the bottle. Plastics marked with a No. 2, No. 4, or No. 5, are currently considered safe. An even easier way is to look for products specifically marked BPA-free.
Metal Water Bottles come in unbreakable aluminum and stainless steel. Some have copper or plastic liners. Watch out for plastic liners that contain BPA. Metal bottles keep water fresh tasting, but some absorb heat and make the water warm. Some metal bottles come with insulating sleeves or are made of metals that resist heat.
Glass water bottles with well-fitting lids work great, as long as they're kept clean and safe from breakage (not so great for kids and athletes). They're inexpensive and totally recyclable.
Other things to consider when choosing your bottle:
- Is the mouth the right size for easy cleaning, ice-cubes, easy filling, and minimal dribbling?
- Is it dishwasher-safe and can it clean the inside thoroughly or does it have to be hand washed?
- Will it transfer well from your car to your bike to your desk or do you need different sized bottles for different uses?
- Does it come with its own filter? Some have in-bottle filtration systems that allow you to refill from any faucet (or stream) with a 99 percent guarantee your water will be clean and tasty. Filters can take up a lot of volume in the bottle so choose one that's not too large and is easily replaceable.
- Does condensation build up on the outside of the bottle? If so, keep it out of your purse and pick up a bottle sleeve to keep it from slipping out of your hand.
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