Understanding all the options can be daunting. How do you decide which type of reusable bottle to buy? Here’s a primer on reusable bottles that outlines the pros and cons of each type of material and explains why Back2Tap chose to offer only stainless steel bottles. Click here to view a Reusable Bottle Comparison Table.
Are plastic bottles safe?
Start by looking on the bottom of plastic containers for the triangular recycling symbol with a number 1-7 inside it. These are resin codes that indicate the composition of the plastic.
Plastic bottle overview:
- Plastic #1 (most water and soda bottles) is not meant to be reused due to the possibility of bacterial buildup. It is recyclable.
- Plastics #2, 4, and 5 are safe, but not very durable over the long run. Only #2 is recycled by most municipalities. None are truly dishwasher safe.
- Plastics #3, 6, and 7 (polycarbonate only) leach hormone disruptors, including Bisphenol A (BPA) at very low levels that some experts say pose a health concern.
Metal bottle alternatives:
- Aluminum is reactive and requires a liner that could pose problems with wear and can leach BPA (Sigg bottles are aluminum). Lined bottles are not recyclable.
- Stainless steel bottles perform best because:
- Food grade stainless steel is non-reactive so no lining is necessary.
- No harmful chemicals (BPA) leach into your drink.
- Drinks taste fresh in metal bottles – no residual odors and no metallic taste.
- Drinks stay cooler longer.
- Bottles are lightweight and hip.
- Bottles are durable and won’t wear out.
- Bottles are 100% recyclable after many years of use.
Environmental and Economic Considerations Choosing a reusable bottle based on its environmental impact is also complicated. Plastic bottles take the least amount of resources to manufacture and may seem like the best option, but stainless steel bottles are more durable than plastic, making them more resource efficient in the long run. Stainless steel bottles cost between $10 and $30, but they will easily pay for themselves because they will not need to be replaced for years. Furthermore, if you fill them with tap water, rather than spending 17-75 cents per disposable bottle of water in the grocery store, it will only take between 2 weeks to 6 months to break even. A further benefit of stainless steel is that is can be cost-effectively recycled. Plastic is typically only down-cycled (turned into something of a lesser purpose) in a process that is ANY reusable bottle, no matter where it comes from or what it is made of, is better for the environment than the manufacturing and shipping of bottled water. Stainless steel bottles appear to have the lowest long term impact on the planet as well as being the safest health-wise and having the best performance features. Best of all, you can fill your stainless steel water bottle with tap water, filtered if you want, knowing that you are consuming the healthiest, most cost-effective, and carbon-conscious drink under the sun. Back to Facts Page