The idea of eco friendly bottles for our water and also baby bottles have really been making big news in the last couple of years.
We know that choosing to buy bottled water takes its toll on the environment because of all of the trash it creates, but recently there have been concerns about the safety of common disposable and reusable bottles for water and babies.
Can a plastic bottle really be considered eco-friendly? After all, it is made from petroleum oil by-products, making it inherently constructed of a non-renewable material. According to the Pacific Institute, the plastic bottle industry in America consumes upwards of 17 million barrels of oil every year! This is only one of the reasons why we have a need for the production of eco friendly bottles.
These traditional bottles are made from what is called PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, which is much more toxic to produce than glass water bottles, emitting 100 times more toxins like ethyl benzene, nickel, benzene, and ethylene oxide.
And the sad thing is that nearly 90 percent of these bottles aren't recycled in the US. When plastic water and baby bottles go to the landfill, they can sit there without biodegrading for hundreds of years. They also litter our ocean shores, making them quite ugly and causing problems for local wildlife and marine life.
You can learn more about this problem by checking out Alan Weisman's book "Polymers are Forever" or browsing through this website: Orion Magazine Polymers Are Forever Article.
But if plastic is the only thing you're willing to purchase, are there better options out there?
There sure are!
First, if you can avoid the petroleum industry during your search for eco friendly bottles, then you're definitely on the right track. Thankfully, today there are now corn-plastic options, sometimes called bio-plastic or bio-bottles. These are made with corn or sugarcane, rather than petroleum using a variety of technologies, but the up-side is that they are biodegradable and renewable!
In other words, they don't require dirty oil to manufacture, and if they get deposited into commercial composting facilities (where temperatures are high enough to get them to break down), they will decompose in much less time than petroleum-based plastics.
Here are some companies I discovered that use corn-based plastic to make their water bottles:
Primo Water - The first nationally-available bottled water using plant-based bioplastic under the name Ingeo.
Girl Scouts' Bio Green Plastic Water Bottle - These eco freindly bottles for sports activities are reusable and come with a flip-cap. They are biodegradable and recyclable, too.
New Wave Enviro Water - This company provides their water in corn-plastic which can be composted in a commercial compost waste facility.
BIOTA by Rocky Mountain Spring Water - Their nature-based packaging from NatureWorks PLA is the first commercially viable material derived from annually renewable resource (corn). These are certified to be commercially compost-able and will disappear in these facilities in 75 to 80 days.
If you would like to learn more in-depth detail about bio-plastics, BioPlastics Magazine is a good resource.
Just remember that your bio-bottled water should not be tossed in with your regular recyclables. Traditional plastics like PET are recycled using a certain system, and bio-plastic bottles can contaminate the batches of recycling plastics if they're tossed together. You'll need to look for a commercial compost facility to properly dispose of these plant-based bottles.
Another way you can green-up your plastic water bottles is to purchase one that's made to be reused. Disposable or one-use water bottles aren't meant to be reused multiple times and therefore aren't very durable. Some companies are looking for ways to make disposable water bottles better:
Aquafina recently released their Eco-Fina bottle which is made using 50 percent less plastic.
In a similar effort, Poland Spring has recently introduced their Eco-Shape bottle, which is made from 30 percent less plastic and a smaller label. They also claim that the eco shape water bottle adds to its green reputation, but I'm not entirely sure how that works.
Eco Connect is also marketing itself as a green alternative that can be adopted by existing water bottle purveyors. Their Eco-Connect Bottle that is biodegradable will apparently screw together with other bottles of the same kind to be reused as table legs and baby toys. This will supposedly raise awareness about the waste associated with disposable bottles.
But these seem like green-washed products since they are inherently meant to be tossed when you're done with them. And as we've already pointed out, most of us don't even think twice about where they go, so most of them end up in landfills rather than recycling facilities. Not exactly the eco friendly bottles solution we have been looking for.
A reusable plastic water bottle on the other hand is specifically manufactured to withstand abuse so that you can have one in your car, one in your purse or backpack, and one at home so that you've always got a convenient way to carry water around.
But with plastic bottles you want to make sure you choose ones both for you and your baby that are BPA-free. In a 2007 report from the Environment California Research and Policy Center, polycarbonate plastic (the rigid kind used for most reusable water bottles and plastic baby bottles) was treated with bisphenol A (BPA) which can leach from the plastic into food. BPA has been linked to cancer, impaired immune system function, obesity, hyperactivity, diabetes, and early onset of puberty, so it's something you want to avoid if at all possible.
But this doesn't mean you can't use plastic water bottles at all. Here are some great BPA-free, reusable eco friendly bottles for your water made from plastic:
Life Is Good
Katadyn Exstream XR Purifier
And if you're looking for eco friendly bottles for babies made from plastic, here are some options that are BPA-free:
Adiri Natural Nurser
Green To Grow
Whether you're looking for an eco sport water bottle for yourself or eco friendly bottles for your baby, the other two materials you can consider are stainless steel and glass. Both are inert, so they won't leach toxins into the liquid in the bottle, they're completely recyclable, and of course, they're reusable. So you can get hundreds of uses from just one bottle.
And remember, when you use reusable, you save moneyâ€”perhaps even hundreds of dollars every year, depending on how much bottled water you drink over any given 12 months.
Eco friendly bottles made of stainless steel are highly durable, virtually unbreakable, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These make excellent eco sports bottles since they won't break if they're dropped as you run, hike, or cycle.
Here are some of the best eco friendly sports bottles for everyday or highly active events, too:
Eco Mountain Bottle
Eco Sports Bottle
New Wave Enviro
And this list wouldn't be complete without some eco baby bottles that are both reusable and recyclable:
Evenflo Glass Nursers
So as you can see, you have many options available to you if you're looking for a eco friendly bottles solution to your water or baby bottle needs. Any number of the products listed above will boost your green drinking safely, while helping the planet, too. I hope that my research and posting of this material has saved you time and effort!
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