written by: Kantha Wijeratne•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 9/16/2010
The trendy colorful reusable water bottles available today point to their growing popularity among the masses. This demand obviously stems from a greater public awareness about the harmful effects of plastic bottles. This article discusses the benefits of using reusable water bottles.
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Once upon a time in the not too distant past, a plastic water bottle was an acceptable accessory to carry around. Not anymore. More and more people are now turning to eco-friendly reusable water bottles instead. It is a welcome change that is beneficial both to consumers and the environment.
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Why Reusable Water Bottles are Good For You
Before plastic water bottles became fashionable, we drank our water off the tap or boiled, filtered and cooled. Most municipalities supply water that is safe to drink. Water samples are tested daily and periodically for microbiological and chemical contaminants as stipulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. However the doubts relating to the safely of tap water, particularly the presence of the chlorine resistant cryptosporidium that causes intestinal disorders have not been entirely removed. Filtered tap water helps remove this harmful microbe as well as chemical contaminants such as phthalates.
The successful marketing of plastic water bottles has led to a mass belief that bottled water is cleaner and safer. While some bottle water companies source their water from fresh water springs, about 40% come from tap water that has been filtered. A report published in 1999 by the Natural Resources Defense Council based on a four year study found that 22% of bottles tested contained chemical contaminants.
Access to clean water is a basic human right, It does not make sense that we have to pay exorbitant prices to drink water from a brand-named plastic bottle that may not even be safe. These findings point to the need for a healthier way to drink and carry our water around. Carrying water in reusable plastic water bottles is another option. However, there is the risk of harmful chemicals leaching in to the water, especially when exposed to sunlight.
A healthier alternative is to carry filtered tap water in reusable containers made from eco-friendly materials. They fill the need to stay hydrated while on the go. As they can be safely re-used, there is a cost saving as well..
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Why Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle are Good for the Environment
Plastic bottles originate from petroleum which is a scarce resource. Dollar for dollar it costs more to produce water that is stored in a plastic bottle than an equivalent amout of gas. Transporting them requires gas that releases carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere. Although these bottles are recyclable, almost 88% are thrown away. The unsightly dumping of plastic water bottles in landfills and in our water ways, estimated at 40 million bottles a day, is polluting our environment. The leaching of harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A contained in some plastic bottles adversely affects all life forms including ourselves and the balance we maintain with nature.
Re-using plastic water bottles is also not a good choice as the plastic can leach harmful contaminants in to the water.
Eco-friendly reusable water bottles help to reverse this trend. Most reusable bottles are produced responsibly from materials that are bio-degradable or can be recycled. We can help to reduce our carbon foot print when we invest in reusable water bottles.
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Choosing an Eco-Friendly Reusable Water Bottle
What are the features that we look for when choosing a reusable water bottle? We want to make sure that it is safe to use on a daily basis. Is it easy to carry around? Is the stopper easy to use? Is the bottle leak-proof? Can it withstand hard knocks and falls? Is it easy to clean? Does it sweat? Can it be recycled? Does it ensure value for money? Personal preferences such as size, style, color and whether it fits in to a purse, back pack or other nook also count.
Many companies produce reusable water bottles that meet these requirements. They use materials ranging from good quality aluminum and stainless steel to corn-based dextrose to cater to the growing demand for reusable water bottles. Glass bottles are also a good choice although they pose some issues relating to weight and breakability. Some popular choices are Kleen Kanteen, Sigg, Gaiam, H20 On the Go, New Wave Enviro Products, Corntainers to name a few.
If you still decide to go with a plastic water bottle, make sure that it is made from a material that is considered safe. Check the bottom of the container. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 are relatively safe while numbers 1, 3, 6 and 7 are not. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is Number 2 and is considered to be better than other types as protection against leaching.
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Take Care of Your Eco-friendly Reusable Water Bottle
To be truly safe, clean your reusable water bottle daily using warm soapy water. Check whether your bottle is dishwasher-safe. Some are not.
Fill your bottle with filtered tap water. Boiling, filtering and cooling are added precautions that you can take. Check that your hands are clean when you open your bottle. Do not let others drink off your bottle. Your water should taste like water with no after-taste or odor.
Investing in an eco-friendly reusable water bottle makes good sense. It is a healthier choice for you as well as the environment.