What are the Best and Worst Reusable Water Bottles?

Plastic water bottle being poured into stainless steel water bottle.

When did drinking water become so complicated? We are bombarded with choices. Spring or distilled? Flat or bubbly? Tap or bottled? If bottled, which brand? And maybe most importantly, which bottle?

By making the decision to invest in a reusable water bottle, you are improving the environment by reducing the number of single-use water bottles, many of which will make their way to landfills and settle there for years to come. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the average plastic bottle takes about 450 years to break down. By choosing the right reusable water bottle you are also improving your health by both keeping hydrated and reducing your exposure to unhealthful chemicals.

Best Choices

  • Stainless steel water bottles are an excellent choice. They’re durable, lightweight, and won’t add an off-taste to your water. Stainless steel will not leach chemicals into water like some plastics do. When choosing stainless steel, opt for one that doesn’t have an inner liner since some liners can contain toxins.
  • Glass is safe for the environment and safe for you. The downside is that glass is fragile. When choosing a glass water bottle, opt for one with a protective sleeve.

Not So Good Choices

  • Plastic water bottles are light, convenient to use, and widely available. Unfortunately, many are not a good choice for storing drinking water because harmful chemicals found in some plastics such as BPA (bisphenol A) and phthalates can transfer from the plastic into the water. If choosing plastic, look for versions that are free of BPA and phthalates.
  • Aluminum water bottles have an inner lining to protect your water and you from excess exposure to aluminum. These inner linings can also have chemicals that can leach into the water. If choosing aluminum, make sure the inner liners are free of BPA and phthalates.

— Bob Summerford, MS, dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

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