By Daniela Frendo
The average plastic bottle takes between 450 and 1000 years to completely break down and biodegrade. According to Brita, the world’s leading water filtration company, Americans alone dispose of 35 billion plastic water bottles each year. In fact, it is estimated that 17 million barrels of oil are used annually to meet the growing demand in the production of plastic water bottles.
These figures might sound alarming, but the good news is that greener alternatives are on the rise. Safe, reusable water bottles are becoming a popular choice among eco-conscious travelers, and are expected to continue gaining ground as more varieties appear on the market.
Searching for genuine eco-friendly products can be difficult, so here are some guidelines to help you choose the most ethical water bottle for your trips.
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BPA-Free Plastic Bottles
One of the chemicals used in the production of plastic, known as BPA, has been linked to breast and prostate cancer. Many companies are now producing BPA-free plastic offerings; however this doesn’t necessarily make the bottles safe and environmentally-friendly. Reusing plastic bottles might seem like a good idea, but extensive usage can build up germs and leach DEHP, another carcinogen, especially if the bottle is made of PET plastic (this is indicated on the label).
While more expensive than plastic bottles, glass bottles are more durable and do not contain any harmful chemicals. Some manufacturers produce bottles made from recycled glass, so it’s worth studying the labels when buying a glass bottle. Glass bottles are the most environmentally-friendly to produce and they are also 100% recyclable.
To make sure that your glass bottle lasts longer, keep it in a silicone sleeve to avoid breakage.
Stainless Steel Bottles
Sturdy stainless steel bottles are the most eco-friendly option. Besides being durable and reliable, stainless steel is a non-reactive material, meaning it doesn’t release toxins.
Klean Kanteen is a leading brand in BPA-free and eco-friendly stainless steel products. Some of their water bottles have taps produced from sustainably harvested bamboo.
Before investing in a good stainless steel water bottle, do some research about the available brands. The manufacturing of stainless steel water bottles is not exactly environmentally-friendly, but some companies make it their mission to employ sustainable methods in the production process. Polar Bottle, for example, do not only produce bottles that are durable and recyclable, but they also contribute to environmental conservation during the production and distribution phase. In order to minimise the environmental impact of transportation, the company produces bottles made from locally sourced parts, while employees are given a free bus or train pass to get to work.
Polar Bottle also send free-of-charge replacement caps to buyers who lose the original caps, the aim being to encourage customers to keep using the same bottle and reduce waste.
Things To Consider
Some water bottle brands pledge to donate a percentage of their earnings to a charity organization or invest them in a good cause. Companies like Icelandic Glacial and Treeson are committed to environmental conservation and sustainability.
While plastic is the Number One enemy of the environment, both when produced and discarded, it doesn’t mean that plastic water bottles should be shunned for good. In some cases, a BPA-free plastic drinking water bottle can be more eco-friendly than other materials. Treeson produce plant-based plastics and encourages buyers to return the empty plastic bottle to the company to be used as fuel for a waste-to-energy plant. Icelandic Glacial, a producer of spring bottled water, use natural geothermal and hydroelectric power to fuel the production of plastic.
Go for an eco-friendly bottle that suits your lifestyle. For backpacking trips and long journeys, a glass and stainless steel water bottle is a good investment. You can fill it up at fresh running streams, and the water keeps cool in it.
Buying plastic water bottles is okay as long as it is done sparingly and ethically. Keep your eyes peeled for companies that endorse environmental projects, such as Hydros, who use a portion of their profits to fund sustainable drinking water projects around the world. Another company, Vapur, sells light plastic bottles that require less energy to produce and are also more biodegradable than rigid plastic bottles.
What’s your recommendation for an eco-friendly drinking water bottle? Please share in the comments below!
*This post originally appeared on Epicure & Culture
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