Bottled Water and Water Bottles

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I’ve carried reusable water bottles for years, playing field hockey and basketball when I was a kid, but I didn’t start carrying one every day until I started teaching.  I found that speaking almost all day long left me parched, plus I know how important it is to drink lots of water. 

A reusable water bottle is so much better than a one-time-use plastic bottle.  Besides the fact that buying bottled water is ridiculously expensive, it’s also incredibly wasteful and not any “cleaner” than tap water.  In fact, tap water is held to higher standards than bottled water, and there’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding bottled water companies.  Did you know that bottled water companies don’t “pay” for the water in those bottles? They just buy or lease a piece of property, which gives them the right to use the water.  Then they pump the water in huge amounts, often lowering the water table and changing the availability of the water supply in the surrounding area.  They’ll even continue to pump water in extreme drought, further reducing the water available for their neighbors.  I didn’t know any of this until I saw the documentary “Flow” and I would highly recommend it because it follows water issues all around the world. 

And then there’s the plastic issue.  A plastic bottle is doesn’t just contain plastic.  It contains many different chemicals, which can leach into the water you drink and contaminate the landfill after you throw it out.  Let’s also not forget about the fact that many places do not recycle all kinds of plastic and that it never biodegrades, resulting in a collection of trash in the ocean, like in the North Pacific Gyre.

To be truthful, I carried reusable water bottles before I knew about those issues because it saved money, and I see “my” water as “better” than theirs.  We happen to live right near a huge reservoir, which supplies water to the surrounding towns.  Our groundwater (we have a well) is fresh, clean, and we only pay for the electricity to pump it (once the well was dug and equipment installed).  It’s “local” and all the rules that apply to local food apply to water.  It doesn’t have to be shipped around the country or from another country, it’s right here, under our house.  Not to mention, it doesn’t have that chlorinated taste.  However, did you know if you do have chlorinated water, you can keep it in a bottle in the fridge overnight and the taste will go away? You can also install a filter at the tap or use a refrigerator that has filtered water in the door.

For a long time, I carried a purple nalgene water bottle.  However, in the last year or so, since a student first told me about the link between BPA and breast cancer (which lead to quite a bit of research on my part), I’ve been carrying metal water bottles instead.  Now you can get BPA-free plastic, but I’d just like to avoid it.  I feel like you never know what chemical they’ll find leaches into the water next.

The first metal water bottle I got was a SIGG, which I love.  The bottle is made of aluminum and has a taste-neutral coating that allows you to add acidic and even fizzy liquids to it.  It’s sleek design is sure to grab attention, as are the pretty designs and sayings that are printed on there.  However, I soon came to realize that SIGG is not the best option for me.  The relatively small opening means that I can’t drop in ice cubes or a slice of lemon or lime.  They’re also not dishwasher safe (although I have put them in the dishwasher a few times, just to test them out). 

I moved on to a Klean Kanteen, which automatically made me happy since it has a much wider mouth and is dishwasher safe.  As you may be able to see from the picture, the orange one has gotten a lot of use, evidenced by the dents and peeling finish.  In fact, the peeling finish is one of the things I’ve been disappointed with.  It’s not even a year old and the finish is peeling, plus I’m not sure what’s exactly in that finish.  The green and blue Klean Kanteen is currently my favorite water bottle.

About a month ago, the folks at Eco Canteen sent me one of their bottles, asking me to review it here.  I said sure, but be aware that if I don’t like it, I’m going to say so!  This bottle is also has a wide mouth.  But, to be honest, I’ve only used it once.  It looks almost exactly like the Klean Kanteen, except it’s plain old silver, and I’d much rather use my orange Klean Kanteen or the pretty blue and green Klean Kanteen that my mom got me for my birthday this year.  It also has a black fingerprint on it, maybe in paint? It doesn’t come off and for some reason it grosses me out.  I guess you get what you pay for.  The one advantage of the silver color is that I may actually get my husband to use it, since he’s always worried that the guys at the job site will make fun of one of the fancier bottles.  That is, of course, if I can ever wean him off Snapple.

I would encourage you to check out any of these reusable bottles, since they are cute, safer than plastic, will keep plastic out of land fills, provide you with potentially safer water than bottled, and will also save you money in the long run.  SIGG and Klean Kanteen both also donate 1% of their sales to environmental causes.  And do be wary: metal bottles made in China have been shown to contain BPA and lead in their paint.  As always, you need to be an educated consumer.  Whatever water bottle you choose, it’s the right choice over bottled water.

I absolutely realize that while I sit here, sipping water out of a glass and typing this, there are people around the world who do not have access to clean, safe, fresh drinking water.  Groups are asking the UN to add water to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Article 31 reads:

Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance.

If you agree, as I do, please go sign the petition.

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What do you use for a water bottle?

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11 Comments

Filed under Review, Sustainable Living

11 Responses to Bottled Water and Water Bottles

  1. I had been using a stainless steel coffee carrier (had plastic around the top), but last week at the conference where I spoke, they were giving out reusable grocery totes with an aluminum water bottle and I’ve been using it ever since. I love it (and it was free)!

  2. We used to use Powerade bottles over and over again which grosses me out. For Christmas I got myself a Sigg and Brian the 40 oz. Klean Kanteen. He was a little leery at first but he has used it every workday since Christmas and seems to like it now. I got the loop cap at first but have since purchased the flat cap so it can stand straight up in his lunch box. My Sigg is the one that says “Make Love Not Landfill”. I love it just because it’s cute. I’ve had some trouble with it tasting funny after filling it with iced tea all week but I suppose that’s my fault for not rinsing it every night. It is not nearly as durable as the KK and even had a dent in it when I received it. I would probably stick to the Kanteens in the future.

  3. I signed the petition. :)

    As for water bottles, we love our Klean Kanteens. I have one plain silver one, one brown, and one pink sippy (for my 4-year-old daughter). I will probably buy one for my baby boy in a few months, too.

    Although I do love all of the Sigg designs. Here in Canada I’ve only seen plain and single colour KKs, but there are some really pretty and cute Siggs.

  4. I love love love my Sigg! I still throw it in the dishwasher and have never had a problem with it. Matt has one and I bought my youngest brother one for soccer season in his team colors. Mine is the .6L one and it fits in my water bottle holder on my bike. Matt has the giant size and it fits no where except his hand. :D I found a super cute .3L one to start the baby on… I figure if we start him out early, he’ll never buy a bottle of Evian. Start these habits early!!!

  5. Rob

    I dont know if it is a sigg or kleen canteen- but i tote around a blue boeing water bottle thta boeing gave evry employee so they could say they were a “green company”. Other times I use Muggsly, my antique Starbuck stainless steel commuter mug. I named it Muggsly because every commentd you never see me without my mug. It must be attached to my hand- pretty silly now that I think about it!

  6. I just received a gift of a Sigg yesterday! It is an Aqua color and I love it! I will be using it a lot as we have 5 acres and I mow 2 1/2 acres of that on a riding mower that has a cup holder ( it fits perfect). My 14 year old daughters received Siggs as gifts about a month ago and they use them constantly! :-)

  7. Too funny, Abbie… I got one of the EcoCanteen’s about a month ago also, but I’m running a bit behind and don’t have my review up yet. I’ve been using it regularly though, and like it quite a bit.

  8. Aunt Sara

    I have used the same plastic water bottle for the last 10 years. i don’t carry a water bottle around with me like many people do, but use it on the bike, on the trail, in the kayak, and at the gym. It is not the type of plastic that is considered a health hazard, and I see no reason to replace it with one of the more stylish metal water bottles. A little bleach and water go a long way in keeping it clean.

  9. Whew! Thanks for all the information, Abbie. As always, I’m learning more from you every day.

    You were the inspiration for me to change from my much-loved “Island School” (aka Green School/Eleuthera) blue plastic water bottle to metal bottles like SIGG and Klean Kanteen. I, too, prefer the wide-mouthed bottles like KK so that I can add ice.

    The only problem is that, besides loving the Island bottle (probably because it brings back memories of our incredible summer experience at this school and the turquoise waters around Cape Eleuthera) is that I like to freeze my water bottles, so that when I bring them to school they’re COLD all day, part ice/part water. I’ve yet to find a metal bottle that I can do that with . . . any suggestions?

  10. Venetia Brown

    I really love my Eco-tanker (from http://www.grassrootsecostore.com.au) – very durable and no plastic internal lining which I’ve found are in some aluminum bottles.

  11. woof

    I ordered an ecocanteen then they tell you it will take 4-6 weeks to be shipped. That is absurd. There are many bottles of equal quality on ebay for much less that ship immediately.

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