Fill ‘er up: Reusable water bottles

According to Wikipedia, Americans buy about 28 billion water bottles a year. 28 BILLION WATER BOTTLES! Does that number freak anybody else out just a little? What’s also alarming is that 80 percent of bottles end up in landfills. It all seems like such a waste (literally) when there’s an easy, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternative available – refillable/reusable water bottles. These days, when living “green” and being “eco-friendly” are all the rage, there is certainly no shortage of refillable water bottles on the market to choose from.

Water bottlesThere are a lot of things to consider when selecting a reusable water bottle. Do you want plastic, aluminum, stainless steel or even glass? If you choose plastic, is it BPA-(Bisphenol A)free? Do you prefer a biter valve or a straw or neither? Is the bottle spill-proof? Does it fit in a cup holder? Is it dishwasher-safe? How much does it cost?

This week I’m going to take a look at a few of the adult water bottles on the market. In a couple weeks, I’ll be tackling water bottles for kids.

Despite that it’s made of plastic, my personal favorite water bottle is the Camelbak BPA-free Better Bottle with a bite valve. My husband, our two kids and I each have one of these bottles (each a different color) and they go with us just about everywhere – out to eat, on walks, anytime we go anywhere in the car, to parties, etc. Seriously, ask my friends, I have it with me everywhere I go. I heart my Camelbak.

Everyone has their thoughts on what makes a water bottle right for them. Melissa at Nature Deva recently wrote about her Quest for the “Perfect” Water Bottle and put together a list of criteria the “perfect” water bottle should meet:

  • BPA-free
  • Double-walled stainless steel
  • Straw top
  • Cover for straw
  • Non-leaking
  • Attractive
  • Fit in my car’s cup holder
  • Hold more than 2 cups of water
  • Reasonably Priced

Melissa was recently able to find a bottle that met everything on her list and has declared the (drum roll please) Intak Steel Hydration Bottle by Thermos to be the “perfect” water bottle.

Tiffany at Nature Moms Blog is also a big fan of Thermos and their the Intak Water Bottle. Tiffany says, “I have always had a favorite water bottle and his name is Mr. Klean Kanteen. But step aside Klean because you may have been replaced. Okay maybe not replaced, but you will now have to share your coveted position in my cupboard. Make room for the sleek and ingenious Intak by Thermos.”

In her post Reusable Bottles: BPA-Free for Everyone, Tiffany reviews bottles by Thermos, Klean Kanteen, SIGG, Camelbak and Nalgene.

Over at Eat Play Love in her post Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives, Denise explains what the different types of plastic are and which to avoid, how to wash your plastic water bottles, and reveals her favorite water bottle – hint, it’s not plastic at all.

Jessica who writes at Shine lists 5 eco-friendly water bottles to reuse, rehydrate, refill. Making the grade are a $22 aluminum Sigg bottle, a $20 Sigg flask, the $10 Camelbak Better Bottle, a $30 Klean Kanteen, and a free (or nearly free depending on where you get it) glass jar with a lid.

Another stainless steel bottle not previously mentioned is the Think Sport water bottle, reviewed over at The Soft Landing.

If you haven’t taken the plunge into using a refillable water bottle yet due to concern about the safety of your tap water, check out the post Green Resolution: Info about Tap Water from the OC Family.

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every brand of bottled water they tested. Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing. In addition, there is increasing evidence of adverse health effects tied to Bisphenol A, or BPA, a widely used chemical in the manufacturing of plastic polycarbonate bottles, including water bottles.

There you have it. Lots of different water bottles with lots of different options. So tell me, what’s your favorite or if you’re still buying disposable water bottles, are you considering switching to a reusable?

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Cross-posted on BlogHer

Photo credit: Eat Play Love

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47 thoughts on “Fill ‘er up: Reusable water bottles

  1. I use both siggs and klean kanteens. I like that the klean kanteen can go in the dishwasher, so I’ve been using that one more often. I couldn’t go for glass because I drop them a lot, and they have dents in them. Last year, when I started carrying them at school, kids always wanted to know what they were. Now I see a lot of kids with reusable water bottles and coffee cups. What a difference 6 months makes.

  2. I have an Eco-tanka Mini (http://www.ecotanka.com/) with a sipper top. It’s working well for me!

    I don’t buy bottled water unless I’m going camping in an area where there is giardia risk. The water quality standards here are high so drinking from the tap isn’t bad. We do use a filter on the tap to fill the kettle because when we boil our water it has a chemically taste. I give the kids filtered tap water.

  3. We sell a variety of BPA free bottles in our small online store.

    The one I personally use most often is the Nathan bottle. It has a bite valve top with carabiner attached and is made of stainless steel. I love stainless steel because it has no taste and leaches absolutely nothing. You can see pictures and more information about Nathans on our site: http://www.bayinghound.com/nathan.html

    I’m also eager to get my hands on an EarthLust bottle. These are bottles with a look similar to SIGG but made of stainless steel and a little less pricey.

    These are exciting times to have so many great bottles on the market and so many fantastic consumers switching to reusables. :)

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  5. siggs and kleans are a little expensive for me… I use the glass bottles of soft drinks to carry around my water. :) the plastics smell after a time- at least the ones I’ve bought over time, and I hate that. You just give a soapy shake to the glass ones, and they are good to go for a long while.

  6. We love our Klean Kanteens. My 4-year-old is an especially big fan of her little pink one, that came with a sippy attachment.

    The biggest issue initially was getting used to the taste of tap water. But within a week or so I actually came to prefer it. Plus it’s free, what could be better than that?

  7. We have stainless steel bottles that we bought at our local health food store. The brand is “Enviro Products.” Very similar to a Kanteen, but didn’t have to order it online (I’m old fashioned that way).

  8. I LOVE my Earthlust bottles. They are so pretty too. My kids are drinking more water than ever now that we have switched to having canteens around. Water tastes so much better coming out of metal. DD takes the sport lid off hers. She can’t stand the taste through the plastic.

    When I was kid we had an old saucepan hanging at the water trough on the ranch. I drank a lot of water that way. It has never tasted the same coming from a plastic bottle.

  9. A year or so ago, my husband and I retired all of our Nalgene bottles and bought Siggs for both of us for home and work. But recently I’ve come across concerns that Sigg bottles may not be as safe as they’re purported to be. (See http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/are-sigg-aluminum-bottles-bpa-free.php) The composition of the lining in the Sigg bottles is apparently a “secret,” even from Sigg’s CEO. It [the lining] may or may not contain BPA. Sigg claims testing shows their bottles don’t leach any detectable amount of BPA into your water, not that there isn’t any there to begin with. Still an improvement over our old Nalgenes, no doubt, but I think the Siggs are soon to be replaced by 100% stainless steel bottles. Ouch.

  10. We have replaced our Nalgene bottles with a Sigg, a KK and now a couple EcoUsable bottles. I really like the stainless steel bottles and they are actually easier for the kiddo to refill himself than the Nalgene bottles were.

    I haven’t bought a bottle of water in years although we do use filters to get the chlorine taste out of our city water. It’s like drinking from a pool straight from tap, ick.

  11. Hold the phone! What’s wrong with Nalgene? Aluminum is not a favorite of mine. This company has been providing bottles to hold water before bottled water became cool. We use them for everything! Just check my kid’s lunchbox.

    ~Regina

  12. Nalgene is now BPA free (I got one for Christmas)! I have the classic bottle, though, that doesn’t fit in the car cup holder. But other than that, there’s not much to dislike about it. Simple, unscrews quickly and easily, wide mouth can fit ice for those hot summer outings, loop can hook to backpacks and diaper bags…

    (I do love my Nalgene.) :-)

  13. I love my Sigg and carry it with me everywhere. Before Sigg I carried a Nalgene all through high school and college. That thing was totally unbreakable, and believe me, it was dropped many a time.

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  15. We have a few BPA free plastic water bottles around due to my husband being a runner. He gets them in his race packs.

    But after trying an Earthlust reusable water bottle I was converted to stainless steel! I like how the stainless steel water bottles keep my water colder for a much longer period of time. My husband likes that too – because he keeps swiping my new water bottle! :)

  16. Hey Crunchy, you know you and I don’t always agree, but could I just hug you for this post.

    We’ve been reusable water bottle carriers for years. (like you I would assume). Mostly because I’m very cheap and can’t stand paying for water or for drinks while out running around ($5 for coffee! Are you kidding me!!!). Anyway, I have a variety of bottles collected at events, garage sales, and received as gifts. Some are sorely in need of replacement as I’m not sure what they’re made of.

    Thanks to this post, I know just what I’m going to buy. And, since we’re heading out on vacation next week, I will invest in them before we leave.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you.

    One thing that might be of interest to your readers: sport tops on bottles (the pop up, suck your cheeks in type) have been found to create smoker-type wrinkles around the mouth. We used to call them pucker lines at the hospital. I’m not real vain, but I don’t want my water bottle to make me look like a smoker!

    Anyone know how to test your bottles for safety?

  17. Another thing, this morning at the grocery store I was sipping on my water bottle while filling some reusable containers of purified water for our saltwater fish tank. I was chatting with people–it’s amazing how many people ask what the heck are you filling those big containers of water for! I converted 3 people from buying the big packages of bottled water into purchasing reusable bottles.

    This cute old man said to me, “I can’t wait to tell my daughter that I’m GREEN!”

  18. Great post, Amy! I know some people are somewhat partial to plastic for drinking, so the Water Week is also an interesting idea. It’s 7 bottles that you can refill and fit in a refrigerator holder. The idea is to replace disposable water bottles. Additional, Crocodile Creek is coming out with a line of STAINLESS water bottles for kids (unlike the aluminum, coated SIGG). They have a pull-up sport top with a cover. I’m really looking forward to these! We love our Foogo, but they can get heavy. However, I do love the straw top of the Foogo bottles. Must my $0.02 :) I’ve researched this pretty extensively, including the amount of water used to bottle one gallon of water, etc. It’s my new “soapbox” LOL

  19. Oh man, thank you for this one. Somehow I am constantly losing my (reusable) water bottles, and I am currently without one. For the longest time I had Nalgene bottles, which are loaded with BPA of course, though we didn’t know it at the time. More recently I had a Sigg bottle, and honestly I didn’t love it. I’m thinking of trying a Kleen Kanteen next…maybe I will actually keep a hold of that one? :)

  20. Planet Matters sells a variety of BPA-Free Water Filtration Products with filters that remove 99.9% of all contaminants. Everything from Personal Portable water bottles w/filters to in-line filters for camelbacks to pitcher,canteens and 72-hr survival packs. Their website is http://www.planetmatterswater.com

  21. I had been using Nalgene bottles forever, but then switched to Sigg about two years ago. I have been putting them in the dishwasher though. Maybe I should look into a stainless bottle.

  22. I bring drinks when we go someone – DS uses a sippy cup for his water and I used this cheap plastic bottle I got from Walgreens. I still feel guilty because we go through 8-10 gallons of water, those gallon jugs because our drinking water out of the tap isn’t safe.

  23. I have a Think Sport. The biggest size doesn’t always fit in cup holders, but the smaller one does. It is double walled stainless steel with a strainer for tea leaves or ice and a loop to carry it by.

    My son swiped my little Think Sport, but he also has a Klean Kanteen and a Thermos Sippy. We used the Klean Kanteen all the time before we got the Thermos and Think Sport.

  24. i just don’t love the metallic taste. we’ve been really committed to not buying bottled water for about 2 years now. i recycled all our nalgenes last summer and started over with bpafree stuff but i haven’t found anything i really *love* in terms of a water bottle.

    that thermos bottle sounds pretty darn cool. i’ll have to check it out! thanks;-)

  25. Great overview! I just bought a Klean Kanteen last week after doing loads of research. I really like the cute designs of the Sigg but the questions surrounding the lining swayed me towards the KK. For whoever said they didn’t want to buy online, you can go to their Web site and look for local retailers – my co-op had them.

    I’m a runner, so we also have lots of BPA-free plastic bottles that I accummulate at various races :) The ThinkSport bottle looks and sounds good; I’ll definitely check that out in the future!

  26. It’s funny how just a few years back it was cool to carry around a water bottle. It was if it was a show of status. Now, soon enough these people may be scorned where they go, due to the effect their bottles are going to have on our environment.

    We are actually in the process of converting to reusable containers. I can come to our own defense and say we do reuse the water bottles we have now and do not leave them in the car. But one step at a time.

  27. Glass bottles are our top choice so that’s what my husband and I use wherever we go. (We reuse our glass Kombucha bottles.) But the problem comes when we need to find something for our 22 month old. We bought a Sigg for him but are having second thoughts due to the aluminum and questionable inner coating. Then we think about stainless steel bottles like the Kleen Kanteen, but we need to find out more about nickel content and such. *sigh* It’s hard to choose.

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  30. Beware all bottle users!
    Just heard about bad plastics. Avoid a “7″ on the bottom of your bottles at all costs. It has been linked to cancer and diabetes!

  31. My fiance and I found these great glass water bottles and liked them so much we started selling them on our green blog, http://www.livinglavidaverde.net. They are a lot sturdier than I would have thought and I feel safer drinking out of something I can see the bottom of! I use a little vinegar once or twice a week to clean it and that seems to work great. Whatever you do, stop using the disposable bottles!

  32. I use bottles i found at this site, http://www.reduceeveryday.com. I have been using the bottles for about a year now and they have survived the dishwasher and my kids and really did not cost much at all. They also have a lot of other products that have helped make my life a little “greener” and everything was a great deal, so far. :)

  33. I did a lot of research before I bought my bottle, and stainless steel is definitely the best choice in terms of value and health.

    Aluminum bottles have an inner plastic lining. Even most stainless steel bottles come with plastic caps! Why is it so hard to get away from plastic!?

    I finally found stainless steel bottles with stainless steel caps – and they’re cheaper than Klean Kanteen:

    http://www.ambrosiawaterfilters.com/aqua-canteen-stainless-steel-bottles.html

    The same site also sells glass water bottles for less than $3!

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  35. Great post, I agree with what you are saying. We need to reduce the amount of bottle water that is purchased each year. Here is a question who would like to drink from a stranger’s cup? Well every time you discard your bottled water and it makes its way into the ocean guess what you just drank from someone. I don’t know if I am thinking to far into this but it make sense technically. Recycle and reuse buy reusable bottles.

  36. GT Kombucha bottles FTW!! I’ve even dropped a full one on the cement and it didn’t break! Hot liquids stay hot for a good while, and the best part is that if I leave one somewhere I just grab the next one out of my stash.

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