The Greenest Water Bottle

If you read Drinking Green, you know that swapping bottled water for tap water is healthier for you, the environment, and your wallet. A quick recap for those who missed it: Unlike bottled water, tap water is regularly tested with the test results openly reported. So by replacing bottled water with a reusable bottle filled with tap water you can be sure that you're getting properly purified water, save about $1400 a year, help cut back on the 47 million barrels of oil used every year to manufacture disposable plastic water bottles, and keep at least some of those bottles which take 450 years to break down out of landfills.

But which kind of reusable water bottle is best? Greenest? Here are some tips to help you find your own eco-friendly water bottle.

Consider durability. Make sure to buy a reusable bottle that will last because it's only being green if you actually use it in place of disposable bottles the majority of the time. You may need one bottle for the office or running errands and another for more rigorous activities. And if you're going to try keeping one in the car, make sure it fits into your cup holders.

Make sure your bottle is BPA-free. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a substance used to make plastic food containers firm. It also happens to be a hormone disruptor (a fact known since the 1930s) linked to an assortment of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, early puberty in girls, low sperm counts in men, reproductive problems, liver disease, and asthma. If you're shopping for a plastic or aluminum bottle, look for a label that says BPA-free. Otherwise, it's likely to contain BPA. Stainless steel bottles are always BPA-free.

Plastics Bottles. Plastic reusable bottles are lighter and easier to use for sports than metal bottles. While they take fewer resources to produce than metal bottles, they are not as durable as stainless steel. Bottles made with plastic no. 3, no.6, and no. 7 polycarbonate contain BPA. Plastics with recycling codes 2, 4, and 5 are considered safer.

Metal Bottles. Metal water bottles are very durable, making them great for everyday use. Since aluminum is reactive, aluminum water bottles must contain a liner to prevent leaching. It is those liners that may contain BPA. Also, lined aluminum bottles are not recyclable. Stainless steel, on the other hand, has been used in the food industry for a very long time and has proven to be durable and safe, without any impact on taste. Plus, stainless steel can be cost-effectively recycled compared to plastic which is typically only recycled into a lesser product.

Best Choice. If you can only buy one reusable water bottle, stainless steel is your best option. It does not leach any harmful chemicals, lets water retain its taste, and has the smallest carbon footprint of all your reusable water bottle options.

Still, ANY reusable bottle is a better option than bottled water. So, find the bottle you like best and will use consistently. Then raise it up and toast to your health, saving money, and protecting the environment.

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