Aside from staying home and drinking tap water out of a washable glass, the best way to be “green” while on the go is choosing your water bottle wisely. From the lowly single-use-only bottle you can buy at your local gas station to the stainless steel and aluminum options, making the right choice is important in maintaining both your health and the health of the environment!
The worst kind of bottle is the kind that you only use once – the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle that you find in grocery stores, gas stations, etc, that is used for water, soda and juice. This kind of plastic has been proven to leach DEHP (Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate) after repeated use and is a probable carcinogen. They can also harbor bacterial growth inside any cracks and crevices inside the bottle, which cannot be too good for your health either!
Next to the regular old plastic bottles we see everywhere, probably the most common would be your typical bottle as seen here. These plastic bottles, commonly used by exercise buffs and campers, are made out of thermoplastic polymers that usually goes by the name polycarbonate. However, it’s not just water bottles that are made out of polycarbonate; CD’s, iPods, sunglasses, and computer shells are also made of the material. Thankfully though, we don’t normally chew on CD’s or computers because polycarbonates have been proven to leach BPA, a synthetic hormone that can mimic estrogen and cause prostate cancer. Even scarier is the fact that most baby bottles are made out of polycarbonate, and when you heat up milk in them to feed your baby, the BPA could be leaching in at an even higher rate than normal. Not good at all, if you ask me!
A much better option than either of the above two would be an aluminum bottle. A big manufacturer of aluminum water bottles is Sigg (which you can get at Reusable Bags, where we got ours), which claims to make environmentally friendly products. While their older liner was questionable, the new liners are the BPA free EcoCare ones.
The best way to get your daily dose of water on the go, in my opinion, is a stainless steel reusable container. Kleen Kanteen is a large manufacturer of these type of bottles, and you can get them from Reusable Bags. They are made entirely out of stainless steel, which does not leach, is difficult to break or crack, and does not easily stain or interact with whatever product you are consuming. The water always tastes good out of it (at least ours does, and it is Los Angeles tap water!) and it keeps it reasonably cold for a little while when we go hiking or out in the sun. They don’t recommend using them for hot beverages, which is understandable – that’s what a thermos is for.
Ideally, the best way to drink water on the go would be an aluminum or stainless steel water bottle, as they seem to exhibit the least amount of health concerns out of all the choices. Add in the fact that they can be used over and over again with no degradation and do not need to be recycled each time you use one, they really are the “green” choice. And since upwards of 40% of bottled water is actually just tap water in disguise, buying it seems like not only a health risk due to the plastic leaching possibilities, but also a wallet risk due to wasting money on something you already have at home!