Consistently drinking water throughout the day is key to optimal health and well-being. It is important to create a routine around water consumption to fulfill the needs of your body. Choosing the best container from which to drink water not only affects your ability to stay regular with your consumption but also can impact your health and the environment.
Drinking water from a washable glass is the best option for both taste and the environment. This is doable in the morning and evening when you are likely at home, but staying home in the afternoon to focus on drinking water is unrealistic. On-the-go consumption at work and between errands is necessary. From the single-use-only bottles to plastic to stainless steel and aluminum to glass bottles , the options can be overwhelming. An understanding of the pros and cons of various types of water bottles will guide you in your decision.
The single-use-only water bottle found at convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores is the worst choice for your health and the environment. The plastic used to make these bottles, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) has been proven to leach a probable carcinogen, DEHP (Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate into the water. If that is not enough to convince you, the cracks and crevices in the bottle that develop over time harbor bacteria. Chemicals and bacteria leached into your water make the necessary act of drinking water potentially hazardous. If you are more concerned about the environment, consider that about 75 percent of empty plastic bottles end up in our landfills, lakes, streams, and oceans, where they may never fully decompose. Whether for health or environmental reasons, avoid single-use-only bottles.
The typical reusable water bottles commonly used by exercise enthusiasts and campers are made of thermoplastic polymers, commonly known as polycarbonate. This sturdy plastic is great for everyday products like iPods, sunglasses, and computer shells, but is proven to leach Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic hormone that can mimic estrogen and cause prostate cancer, into your water. Many companies who produce water bottles have altered their use of polycarbonate plastic to a BPA-free variation. Regardless of the type, plastic will wear over time and will wear more quickly if exposed to sun and the heat of a dishwasher. Also, it is important to remember that no plastic bottle should ever be used for hot liquids.
Any stainless steel and aluminum bottles are better alternatives to plastic. Stainless steel bottles, commonly mistaken for aluminum bottles, are often lined with an enamel or epoxy layer due to reactivity with acidic liquids. There is some controversy regarding whether or not the lining leaches BPA. And most stainless steel bottles cannot be recycled. Aluminum bottle are nonreactive and therefore do not leach and do not need to be lined. Further, they are both durable and lightweight. The potential downside of an aluminum bottle is that water may have a metallic taste, the water becomes warm in hot climates, and if dropped, the bottle will certainly dent.
Taking into consideration the environment, your health, and the taste of the water, a glass water bottle is arguably the best option. Glass is 100 percent recyclable and naturally BPA- and phthalate-free. On top of that, with no unpleasant plastic or metallic taste or smell, the water coming from glass bottles, like drinking water out of a glass at home, just tastes better! The downside is that glass is heavier than plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel bottles, making it slightly more annoying to carry with you throughout the day. A bigger concern is that glass water bottles can break when dropped. Luckily, many glass bottles are double-walled and/or made from BPA-free polycarbonate glass, making them more durable for everyday wear and tear. That, on top of the colorful silicone cases that most glass bottles sport, makes the bottle less likely to break, more user-friendly (a great grip), and even fashionable!
While there may not seem like a clear-cut choice, it is definitive that almost anything is better for your health and the environment than the single-use-only water bottle. With no degradation and no need to recycle with each use, not to mention the money you will save from not continuously buying single-use-only water bottles to maintain your water intake, any other alternative is worth a shot! When making your choice, consider what is most important to you (the environment, your health, water taste, and/or durability and usability) and you are one step closer to making the right choice. Regardless of the water bottle, the most important choice is to drink water every day!
- Drink. Determine the amount of water consumption your body requires by dividing your body weight by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water your body needs on a daily basis.
- Research. Make an informed water bottle decision by researching plastic, glass, aluminum, and stainless steel water bottle varieties. If cared for appropriately, a plastic water bottle could last you years, and an aluminum, glass, or stainless steel water bottle could last you an entire lifetime! Look closely at the company website to determine how the bottle is made and with which materials, and make your decision accordingly.
- Choose. Determine the size of the bottle you need by the amount of water you must drink during the day while on the go. For example, if you need to drink 64 ounces of water daily and aim to drink about 32 ounces during the day, purchase an 18-ounce bottle. Knowing you need to drink 2 bottles of water during the day makes the goal easy and attainable!