Summer is here, which means that staying hydrated is a top priority. No matter whether you’re headed to a baseball game or enjoying a concert in the park, chances are someone will try to sell you a delicious-looking bottle of ice-cold water. Don’t fall for it! That water isn’t any cleaner that the H2O that flows from any faucet or public water fountain, but it’s likely to cost you about 10,000 times more per gallon. Did you know that it takes 2 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water? In 2007, bottled water production in the U.S. used the energy equivalent of 32 to 54 million barrels of oil. That’s enough to fuel about 1.5 million cars for a year. And, to top it all off, only about one in every four bottles is recycled. Carrying your own reusable water bottle that can be washed and refilled with tap water is a much more eco-friendly option. But you have to be careful about which style and brand of bottle you choose, as some can contain toxic ingredients that can leach into the water.
Don’t DIYFor most things, it’s more cost effective to repurpose something you have rather than buying something new, but plastic bottles are the one exception to this rule. Most beverages are bottled in PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which has been proven to leach DEHP (Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) after repeated use and is a probable carcinogen. If buying a safe, reusable water bottle isn’t in your budget, think about repurposing a glass bottle or jar instead. Glass is cleaner, much more resilient and won’t harbor nasty bacteria after repeated uses.
Avoid polycarbonateMainstream manufacturers have started to notice that smart consumers carry water bottles, so naturally they’ve found a way to mass produce them at a low cost. But, before you buy that $2 reusable water bottle at Walmart, consider this: Most are made of thermoplastic polymers often called polycarbonate, which has been shown to leach BPA, a synthetic hormone that can mimic estrogen and cause prostate cancer. Yuck.
Choose stainless steelIf you’re looking for the ultimate water bottle, choose one that’s made from stainless steel. Unlike PET and polycarbonate, steel won’t leach nasty chemicals into your water, won’t crack after repeated washings and won’t break like a glass jar. Another benefit of choosing a stainless steel bottle is that it won’t interact with the liquids placed inside it, meaning your water will always taste like water (not plastic), and juices or teas won’t stain the sides of the container. Here are some of the top brands of stainless steel water bottles:
- Kleen Kanteen (this is what I have, and I love it!)
- Earth Lust (easily the most beautiful designs on the market and a great woman-owned company)
- NewWave Enviro (offers a wide selection, including baby-sized bottles complete with nipple!)
- Think Sport Bottle (Built to fit your active lifestyle, this bottle is free of BPA, lead, phthalates, melamine, nitrosamines, PVC and biologically toxic chemicals.)