We have heard it before; bottled water is an environmental evil. The water isn’t much different than tap water, it costs to transport it, chemicals can leach into your water and the plastic is piling up in landfills. Even with those cons, the bottled water industry is worth $11 billion dollars, and Beverage Marketing Corporation’s statistics from 2008 report that the U.S. leads in bottled water consumption at 8.7 billion gallons. Yikes. But it’s the convenience of just grabbing a bottle and going on with the day that keeps the consumer drinking up more.
If you still want more information about the bottled water industry, check out Water: Buying a Message on a Bottle and Water Wars: Bottled or Tap? Or see this slideshow.
Stopping your bottled water habits requires change. To end reliance on bottled water when we are out and about, we have to think reusable. For you, this could mean bottles made of glass, plastics, aluminum or steel. There are endless options.
Make sure you know what you are looking for when you explore the reusable bottle world. History has shown us that not everything is safe. You don’t have to think back too far to remember the scares associated with reusable bottles a few years back with BPA (Bisphenol A, an estrogen like compound found in hard plastics that has been shown to cause developmental problems in infants and children). Nalgene caught a lot of press when their products were found to carry this harmful compound. Since then, Nalgene and almost every other reusable bottle company have changed its formula and clearly identifies that they are BPA free.
All these choices to end your love affair with bottled water, so where do you start?
I dove into the sea of reusable bottles and found a ton of different options. There are bottles for the sporty or for the stylish. You can flip up a lid, unscrew a cap or sip through a straw to get the hydration you need for the day.
So I will break down some options that I found.
I’ll start with glass. These weren’t as abundant. I did find one made by Life Factory. The sleek glass bottle comes with a silicone sleeve, adding grip and helping prevent breakage, for $22. I am still a little leery of carrying around a glass bottle. One hard drop and no more water for me.
Aluminum has a few more options. Take the lining into consideration when looking at aluminum bottles though. Companies will let you know if they are BPA free, but also make sure over time the cracking and wear doesn’t cause problems. I found two companies making aluminum bottles, SIGG and Gaiam. SIGG has tons of designs and you can even customize your bottle with your own image. The different styles range from $18 to $30. The Gaiam bottles have fewer choices on design, costing $13.
The stainless steel bottles, while weighing slightly more, offer durability. They can take the bumps and drops that daily life throws at them. In the steel bottle market, Klean Kanteen, Sovereign Earth, Thermos, Contigo, Ecousable, Earthlust and Green Bottles all give their version of the perfect stainless steel water carrier. As you can see the list is lengthy and sounds very eco-friendly. These bottles cost anywhere from $12 to $40.
Now the last option with hundreds of choices: safe plastic. Fuel Belt, Platypus, LivPure, Nalgene, Camelbak, Polar Bottle, New Wave Enviro, Contigo, Thermos and Aladdin Sustain all offer a reusable, BPA free bottle. Many of the plastic bottles have a twist to make them different from the competition. The prices range from the basic bottle as low as $5 to one of the more accessorized at $40. Fuel Belt comes on a belt, just like the name implies, and has little bottles that can be filled with water. Platypus definitely looks strikingly different. The bottle is made with a mix of urethane and polyethylene giving it a flexible shape that condenses down to nothing when empty. The LivPure bottles come with their own built-in filter. Most of the other brands basically just carry water. They might have a straw or a sleek outside but nothing fancy.
For me, I think one of the basic steel or plastic bottles fits best. They are simple, durable and offer a lot of variety as far as design goes. Cuteness and the environment matter to me if I am going to carry my bottle around with me all day.
Whatever your need, it sure looks like a reusable bottle could fit it. That means there really is no reason we should be buying bottled water when we have so many options for carrying around tap water. After seeing all those choices to help save the environment, I know I’ll feel a little guilty about buying bottled water.
Photo by IStockPhoto/Jo Ann Snover