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How Reusable Water Bottles Impact the Environment and Your Health

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

The environment and your health work in harmony. The cleaner the air, land, and water, the healthier you’ll be in the long run. That’s why it’s so important to drink from a reusable water bottle. You’ll keep disposable bottles out of landfill and also consume more water throughout the day. It’s a win-win!

How do reusable water bottles help the ecosystem? What about our health? Learn why you should start sipping from a reusable water bottle!

The Environmental Impact of Reusable Water Bottles

The world is busy and most of us spend a good amount of the day on the go. For convenience alone, many people reach for a disposable plastic water bottle. In fact, 1,500 disposable water bottles are consumed every second!

While these bottles may be easy to grab, they’re also not very biodegradable, making them a hazard to our water, land, and air.

Water

Water

Microplastics, which are little resin pellets that break off larger pieces of plastics, are finding their way into our fresh water sources. In the end, we are consuming this plastic as we drink the water or eat the seafood.

Land

Land

People aren’t recycling water bottles properly, and as a result, they’re piling up in landfills. It could take up to 1,000 years for them to fully decompose, and when they do, the particles end up in the soil.

Air

Air

The emissions from manufacturing water bottles and transporting them to grocery stores is extremely harmful to the environment. The more that are produced, the more toxins end up in the air we’re breathing.

A reusable water bottle is part of the solution toward a greener world. With so many stylish options, it’s impossible not to find one you wouldn’t mind sipping from every day. This is more important now than ever considering how disposable water bottles are affecting our planet.

Environment Infographic
Environment Infographic
Quote Icon

While we all benefit from modern plastic’s variety of uses – from hip replacements and artificial hearts to iPods and ballpoint pens – we cannot discount the environmental and health concerns.

– Norman H. Finkelstein, author of Great Inventions: Plastics

Recycling Your Reusable Water Bottles

You probably won’t hang onto your reusable water bottles forever. They tend to get grimy and worn down over time, and you need to make room for the latest and greatest in your kitchen cabinet. Luckily, there are eco-friendly options for those bottles.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is 100% recyclable. More than 192 million Americans have access to centers or shredders in the United States.

Plastic

Plastic

PET, High-density Polyethylene (HDPE), and Polypropylene are all recyclable. Knowing which type of plastic is used to make your water bottle will help with recycling.

Glass

Glass

Glass is super easy to recycle because you can throw it right in your bin outside. It’s then taken to a treatment plant where it’s crushed down and molded into new bottles or jars.

Aluminum

Aluminum

This is another metal that can be recycled. Like stainless steel, you can’t just throw it in the bin outside, so check to see if you have access to a local center or shredder.

Keep in mind, the exterior is what should be recycled. Additional parts like rubber grips, straws, lids, straps, etc. will need to be recycled separately.

If you’re not sure where to start, Recycle Now makes it super easy to find out where you can recycle certain items and materials. Visit their website, enter your zip code, and you’ll have instant access to recycling locations near you!

What Can You Do with Old Water Bottles?

Does it seem insanely difficult to recycle your reusable water bottle? No worries! There are other options for what you can do instead.

  • Hold supplies for cleaning
  • Store your art supplies
  • Feed your pets
  • Water your plants
  • Create a vase
  • Make a coin jar
  • Put in the freezer as an ice pack
  • Turn into a lantern

Clean the House

Clean the House

If you’ve decided never to drink from your reusable water bottle again, you can use it for household chores. Store cleaning solution, soap, or anything else in the bottle.

Art Supplies

Art Supplies

Organize your art supplies in old reusable water bottles. These containers are the perfect size for mini pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and so much more.

Pets/Plants

Pets/Plants

Use your reusable water bottle to pour water or dry food into bowls for your pets. You can also use your bottle to water plants around the house.

Vase

Vase

Water bottles often come in fun designs that you can repurpose into a vase. If the water bottle is ugly, a little fabric or paint ought to do the trick!

Coins

Coins

Keep spare change in your water bottle or use it as a makeshift swear jar. The money can fill up really fast, which can ultimately help you with savings.

Ice Pack

Ice Pack

Frozen water bottles make good ice packs. These come in handy for scrapes, bumps, and bruises, especially if you have kids who like to roughhouse.

Lanterns

Lanterns

Place an LED tea light inside and put it on a shelf in your living room. This DIY project works great with transparent water bottles.

Get creative! There are so many ways to reuse your water bottles once you’re done with them. Give them a good scrub and get to crafting!

How Reusable Water Bottles Affect Your Health

Reusable water bottles are mostly made from plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, or glass. Each of these materials has different pros and cons, including how safe they are to drink from if improperly cleaned.

Keep It Clean

Keep It Clean

Drinking from the same reusable water bottle can affect your health. In fact, over 60% of the germs found on water bottles can make you sick. Take a bit of time to deep clean the bottles. It’s super easy to do and only requires a few basic household supplies.

Why Is It Important to Keep it Clean?

There is a lot of concern about the effects of drinking from water bottles. If they’re not properly cared for, this drinkware can get moldy and gunky over time and affect our health.

Keep It Clean

In 2017, a team of professors at James Madison University studied reusable water bottles to determine which material had the highest contamination levels. They gathered all the results and published the article in Food Protection Trends, a publication for the International Association for Food Protection.

The team tested the interior and exterior of 90 water bottles and asked the owners of these bottles to fill out a questionnaire that determined their behaviors in cleaning. According to the study, 63.33% of the participants used their water bottle every day, and most of them cleaned their bottles with rinsing or washing.

Table 2. Effect of bottle material on ATP readings on exterior bottle surfaces

Glass

Inches: 3
Mean: 281.70a
Standard Deviation: 66.11
Minimum: 211
Maximum: 342
F-value: 2.35
P-value: 0.08

Hard Plastic

Inches: 65
Mean: 375.70ab
Standard Deviation: 351.70
Minimum: 43
Maximum: 2165
F-value: 2.35
P-value: 0.08

Soft Plastic

Inches: 12
Mean: 391.10ab
Standard Deviation: 258.10
Minimum: 47
Maximum: 1034
F-value: 2.35
P-value: 0.08

Metal

Inches: 10
Mean: 732.90b
Standard Deviation: 789.50
Minimum: 32
Maximum: 2510
F-value: 2.35
P-value: 0.08

*Means with the same letter do not differ significantly at P <.50

Table 2. Effect of bottle material on ATP readings on exterior bottle surfaces
Bottle Material "
ATP readings in RLUs
Mean Standard Deviation Minimum Maximum
F-value P-value
Glass 3 281.70a 66.11 211 342 2.35 0.08
Hard Plastic 65 375.70ab 351.70 43 2165
Soft Plastic 12 391.10ab 258.10 47 1034
Metal 10 732.90b 789.50 32 2510

*Means with the same letter do not differ significantly at P <.50

The ATP Bioluminescence test assessed the amount of active cells located on the outside of the water bottles.

While glass water bottles had the lowest microorganism count, the participants who regularly cleaned their drinkware overall had less germs, proving how important it is to give your water bottles a little TLC. It was also found that the interior cleanliness of the water bottles was affected by the type of beverage it contained. For example, hot drinks tended to make the water bottle dirtier than cold water.

The study shows the value in having many different types of water bottles and keeping them clean. You can have one for each kind of beverage, deep clean a few, and still have some leftover to drink from throughout the day!

Quote Icon

If people do not make a significant effort to clean their bottle, then clearly the bottles can become a marked source of microbial contamination.

– Dr. Tony Kim, Assistant Professor at James Madison University

Follow these steps to a healthier, safer water bottle!

A Better Option Than Disposable Bottles

Even though reusable water bottles are known to get gunky, they’re still way better than disposable options, which often contain harmful bisphenol A (BPA). This chemical has been linked to a variety of health issues, and to make matters worse, disposable water bottles are tested for pollutants four times less than regular tap water. The water you’re drinking from your reusable water bottle is cleaner, and ultimately, a lot safer.

Not only that, but reusable water bottles put your drink in arm’s reach. You can fill it up throughout the day, ensuring you get the recommended 64 ounces of water you need for a healthy lifestyle. It’s not safe to refill a disposable water bottle from a tap or fountain. These bottles are designed for single use and germs quickly build up on the surface.

Some reusable water bottles are better than others in terms of quality and durability. There is an ongoing debate as to which options are safest, but the materials in the chart below are most often recommended.

Which Water Bottles are Safest?

Aluminum

Aluminum Bottles

BPA-Free Plastic

BPA-Free Plastic Bottles

Glass

Glass Bottles

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Bottles
Know Your Bottle

Know Your Bottle

If you’re not sure about whether or not your water bottle is safe or how it was made, ask a lot of questions! It’s in your hands to ensure you’re drinking from a bottle that won’t negatively affect your health.

The Bottom Line

No matter which one you use, a reusable water bottle wins over a disposable option any day. It might be easier to grab a case of disposable bottles at the grocery store, but it’s not the best option for the ecosystem or your health. Save yourself the trouble, and the money, by investing in a good reusable bottle instead!

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a super cool Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. She’s a fan of diving into the history of some of the earliest promos on the planet. If you need her, you’ll find her buried in research, in the middle of a phone interview, or singing way off-tune in her office.