It is estimated that Americans will drink more than 30 billion single-serving bottles of water this year. Since these bottles are non-returnable, two million tons worth of that everlasting plastic will end up in landfills–and roads, and beaches, and streams. Refilling used plastic water bottles offers a number of safety risks; so just how are we supposed to responsibly quench our thirst on the go?
Plastic water bottles are non-returnable and since they are generally used away from the home they rarely see the inside of a recycling bin. Most water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and have a lower recycling rate than any other common packaging materials, according to a report by the Container Recycling Institute (CRI). The quick solution many have adopted is simply refilling plastic water bottles from the tapóbut alas, these bottles are not made or regulated for reuse and quite possibly don’t have the physical characteristics required to be safely reused.
Along with the possibility of bacterial contamination is the risk that PET is likely to leach some ugly little phthalates (known hormone disrupters) into your water. Harder polycarbonate (PET 7) bottles, like those used by hikers, can leach a known endocrine disruptive chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA), according to research published by the journal Current Biology.
Solution: Get yourself a nifty eco-friendly, safe, reusable water bottle. Look for one made from aluminum or stainless steel, inert materials that have 0.0 percent leaching. Fill it up with filtered water from your tap, and you’re good to go. Is it as convenient as buying a frosty plastic bottle of water when your thirst summons? No. But will it save you money, protect your health from leaching toxins, and make the planet a better place? Yes! So go ahead, quench in peace…