You probably know that plastic bottles are bad for the environment, but that’s not the only reason to kick the bottle habit. Here are a few reasons to choose sustainable water bottles instead:
- Plastic can leach harmful chemicals and microplastics into your water.
- A significant amount of oil and gasoline is used to produce and deliver single-serve plastic bottles.
- The majority of plastic water bottles become garbage or litter.
- Plastic takes more than 400 years to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form.
Why Choose Sustainable Water Bottles?
You know water contributes to wellness in big ways, which is why you take steps to make hydration part of your everyday life. That means bringing water with you on the go, whether you’re out for a morning jog, taking the kids to school or driving to work.
But time and convenience are important, too, so for many people, the answer is to grab a single-use plastic water bottle — but that leaves you feeling like you’re forced to choose between proper hydration and environmental friendliness.
The good news is that you don’t have to make that choice. Today, we’re looking at sustainable water bottles: what your options are, how to pick your favorite and why they’re better for your wallet (and the environment) than single-use plastic bottles.
Why Do People Like Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles?
The world uses 20,000 plastic bottles every second. That’s about 1.2 million bottles per minute. Many people know the downsides of plastic consumption on this large scale — so why do we keep reaching for single-use water bottles?
Here are a few key reasons:
- Convenience: You can take plastic water bottles just about anywhere. They’re easy to grab and even easier to tuck in a backpack, car cupholder or even a sweatshirt pocket. You don’t even have to wash them — and this convenience makes plastic bottles seem like an attractive option at first glance.
- Water quality: Safe drinking water is a priority for everyone. If you have concerns about your home’s water quality, it’s tempting to just grab a plastic water bottle that you assume is better instead of dealing with the tap.
- Emergency access: Although plastic water bottles may not be the best choice, sometimes they’re the only choice. This is especially true during natural disasters or other events where safe drinking water isn’t immediately available.
- Cost: Many people think paying for single-use plastic bottles is less expensive than installing home water filtration systems.
It’s important to understand the motivation behind your use of plastic bottles. That way, you can find a reusable water bottle that solves your problem and makes hydration sustainable and stress-free.
The Problem With Plastic Water Bottles
While some uses of plastic bottles — like emergency drinking water — can’t necessarily be avoided, there are other cases where a single-use bottle hurts more than it helps. Take a look at these significant downsides associated with plastic bottles:
Do you know where your bottled water is coming from? Although some people assume plastic bottles are always filled from exclusive or specialty sources, the truth is that bottled water often comes from many of the same places as your tap water. Marketing language and other obstacles can make it challenging to determine where exactly your drinking water originated.
Although the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Canadian Food and Drug Act set certain guidelines for bottled water quality, certain contaminants don’t fall within these guidelines.* For example, some bottled water could contain microplastics, industrial chemicals and emerging chemicals like PFAS that potentially make their quality worse than tap water, which is often protected by stricter government regulations. Perhaps most importantly, there’s no public repository where you can research bottled water quality, which means you may never know for sure what you’re drinking.
Plastic breaks down over time and can impact your water quality, which is one reason you shouldn’t reuse plastic water bottles. It’s also important to know that water bottles are made of different plastic types, some of which contain bisphenol A, or BPA. BPA has been known to leach into food and beverages from plastic containers — and that’s a concern because BPA exposure could be linked to certain health risks like cardiovascular disease.
Perhaps the best-known downside of plastic water bottles is their impact on the environment. A full 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter, and a single plastic bottle takes 450 years to degrade. This amount of plastic waste has a significant impact on nature in many ways, from the chemicals used in the manufacturing process to the risk of wildlife ingesting bottle caps and other garbage.
Although some people may assume that plastic bottles are less expensive than buying and installing water filtration systems, that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s break down the math.
Your activity level, sex and other factors determine how much water you should drink in a day; however, commonly referenced guidelines put this amount between 2.7 and 3.7 liters. For the purposes of this cost measurement, let’s say you drink 3 liters in a day.
A liter of water from the cooler in your local convenience store costs about a dollar before tax, so at that rate, you’re spending over $1,000 per year just for one person. (For reference, tap water costs about $0.02 per gallon, and the 3 liters you’re drinking a day is only .8 gallons.)
That’s a significant difference — one you can take advantage of when you address your home’s water quality with a cost-effective water filtration solution.
Sustainable Water Bottle Options
It’s clear that a disposable plastic water bottle isn’t your best choice for hydration. Luckily, there are plenty of sustainable water bottle options to choose from depending on your needs and preferences.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular choices:
Glass Water Bottles
Glass bottles are a favorite among reusable water bottle fans because they’re made of natural materials. Glass also doesn’t have a “taste” and is easy to stick in the dishwasher for a quick clean. Plus, with no BPA or other potentially harmful chemicals, there’s nothing to leach into your water.
However, glass is also heavier than other reusable water bottle options. There’s also the risk of shattering your glass water bottle if you drop it, bump it with other dishes or even expose it to very hot liquids.
Stainless Steel Water Bottles
Stainless steel is a lightweight option for reusable water bottles. Just make sure you choose one without a plastic lining, which can bring back some of those concerns you’re trying to avoid (like certain chemicals leaching into the water).
The biggest complaint about stainless steel water bottles is that they may have a metallic taste. They can also be dented in certain conditions, although they won’t shatter like a glass water bottle.
Aluminum Water Bottles,
Like stainless steel, aluminum is often used in reusable water bottles because it’s lightweight and easy to clean. However, an aluminum bottle is a more complex choice because it may have issues of its own, such as BPA concerns. For these reasons, many people prefer a stainless steel or glass water bottle.
Reusable Plastic Bottles
Some plastic drinking bottles are designed to be reusable. They’re often made of tougher material and come in a variety of colors and patterns, allowing you to choose a design that can make hydration fun. Plus, they’re lightweight, easy to clean and won’t shatter like a glass bottle.
Although many reusable water bottles are advertised as using BPA-free plastic, some manufacturers have begun using other materials whose effects are unknown. The creation of these bottles can also lead to environmental impacts similar to those caused by single-use plastic bottles, which is why many people prefer to live more sustainably by skipping plastic altogether.
Choosing Your Reusable Water Bottle
Once you know what your options are, it’s time to choose a reusable water bottle that will fit your needs and lifestyle.
Remember the reasons you’ve been using plastic bottles all this time? They can help inform your choice of reusable bottles. For example, if you like convenience, choose a material and design that is specifically labeled as dishwasher-safe.
Here are a few more things to consider when deciding on a reusable water bottle:
- Is it the right size for your car cupholder?
- Does it hold enough water?
- Is it insulated to protect from temperature extremes?
- Does the lid adequately protect the drinking surface?
- Can you carry it with ease?
The Best Way To Cut Back on Plastic Water Bottles
Whether you’re opting for a plastic, stainless steel or glass water bottle, one thing remains the same: You need a reliable source of drinking water. If you can’t count on your home’s tap water quality, you won’t have anything to put inside your new reusable water bottle, which means you might end up relying on single-use plastic bottles again.
To avoid this, it’s important to choose a drinking water filtration system that makes you feel confident in your tap water. Remember, this water can be cheaper in the end than paying for individual plastic bottles — so by selecting the right filtration system, you could actually save money.
One of the most comprehensive types of drinking water filtration is reverse osmosis (RO), which makes it easy to get cleaner, great-tasting water every time you turn on the tap. That’s because RO systems can not only address taste, odor or appearance issues that might make your water less palatable, but they also can address a broad range of potential contaminants, including*:
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Perhaps most importantly, drinking water filtration systems can be installed right under your sink. They provide an almost limitless supply of fresh, filtered water whenever you want it. Plus, with a reusable water bottle, you can take that water with you for all-day hydration.
Making Better Water Choices
Every time you reach for a plastic water bottle or decide to turn on the tap instead, you’re making an important choice — one that can impact your wallet, the environment and more.
Of course, that’s not the only water choice you can make. There are also plenty of reusable water bottle options, like glass and stainless steel, to help you say goodbye to plastic once and for all. That means you won’t have to worry about choosing between staying hydrated and protecting the environment (or your budget).
But there’s one more choice to consider: how you’ll improve your home’s water quality. This is an important step if you want to make the most of your reusable water bottle and make sure you don’t have to rely on plastic bottles. Luckily, with options like drinking water filtration systems that can be installed under your sink, you can have a virtually limitless supply of great-tasting water every time you turn on the tap.
The journey to better water choices begins with a water test, which will help you understand what your home’s water issues might be and what you can do to improve your water quality. To get started, schedule your free water test and consultation today.
*Contaminants may not be present in your water.
Find A Location Near Me
Schedule Your Free
In-Home Water Test
Get better water in your home by scheduling an appointment with your local Culligan Water Expert.
See All Articles
Can You Reuse Water Bottles?
It may not be wise to use those single-use plastic water bottles over and over.
7 min read