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Ever do a search engine query for "Water Bottles?" Sheeesh! Careful not to head down the water bottle rabbit hole! Water Bottles of every shape, size, color, and material will claim to be the best for keeping you hydrated throughout your day and your sweat-burning workouts! You want a purple teddy bear shaped plastic bottle with a spill proof lid? No problem! How 'bout a thermal insulated stainless steel variety with a removable cap? Sure thing!

There are a gazillion options! So, what's the best? What's the safest choice? 

With the 38 billion non-reusable plastic water bottles piling into the landfills each year, there's much to be said for using refillable, multi-use water bottle.

Plastic water bottles vs. stainless steel water bottlesSingle Use Plastic Bottles are not Cool

Plastic water bottles have received some bad press in the past for containing Bisphenol-A, a.k.a. BPA, which is a chemical linked to cancer. Fortunately, companies responded and most water bottles sold after 2010 are now BPA-free. However, it’s still important to know what type of plastic bottle you’re sipping from and also to take into consideration what those little numbers on the bottom of your bottle stand for. Disposable water bottles, which you can often pick up at the gas station or in packs of 24 at the grocery store, are labeled with a number 1 and are only meant for a single use.

Although washing and refilling these bottles seems like a smart choice for the environment, they are not durable enough to withstand multiple uses and often end up leaching unwanted chemicals into the water. To protect yourself and the environment, look for those bottles labeled with the numbers 2, 4 or 5. Although these are prone to retaining odors and staining after constant use, they do not discharge chemicals, are the cheapest bottle options on the market, and come in a variety of styles. So, go ahead and be picky! You will find a perfect plastic water bottle out there with your name on it. No chemicals included. 

So, backup. Tell me more about these numbers on the bottom? 

Plastic Recycle NumbersMost clear bottles (soda, water, etc.) have the number 1 inside the triangle. The number 1 stands for PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate). These are bottles that are considered "single use." These items can be recycled into fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags and bean bags. It can also be used for car bumpers, tennis ball felt, and more. If not recycled, they contribute to that 38 billion each year in a landfill near you! 

The number 2 will be displayed on plastic bottles containing HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Milk jugs, bleach, shampoo, etc., will often contain this number. These are typically your heavier containers that can be recycled into toys, piping, Etc. 

PETE/PET (number 1) and HDPE (number 2) are usually accepted at recycling centers.

PVC or V Poly (vinyl chloride) items will display the number 3 inside the triangle. This plastic is often used for pipes, meat wraps, cooking oil bottles, baby bottle nipples, vinyl dashboards and seat covers, coffee containers, vinyl siding on your house and linoleum. PVC is useful because it resists two things that hate each other: fire and water. When you try to burn PVC, chlorine atoms are released, and chlorine atoms inhibit combustion. Yes, these plastics, when heated, release chemicals. Heating number 3 plastics that contain food may release chemicals into the food. Always remove plastic food wrappings prior to reheating them. Items made of number 3 plastics are difficult to recycle, and will likely not be accepted at your local recycling center.

Number 4 plastics are for LDPE (low-density polyethylene). Think grocery bags and sandwich bags. Even though these plastics are generally considered safe, most recycling centers will not accept them.

Number 5 is for PP (polypropylene). No. 5 plastics are often used for dishwasher safe cups and bowls, baby bottles, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs and diapers. Recycling centers are beginning to accept items made with number 5 plastic.

Number 6 is shown for PS (polystyrene). We all k now it as Styrofoam. Some common items are foam food containers, meat trays, packing "peanuts" and insulation. Researchers have noted that number 6 plastic has a tendency to leach into the environment, and should be not heated. It is not recyclable and should be avoided.

Plastics that contain a number 7 are any other plastic, including polycarbonate and BPA, and often contain a combination of plastics 1-6. Because these plastics are difficult to recycle, they are seldom collected or recycled. You can return these items to the manufacturer so that you don't add more items to the landfills. This also puts the burden back on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly. Because you can't be sure what's in it, avoid giving children cups made with number 7 plastics, and do not use it to microwave food.

More information about Recycling Numbers HERE >>> https://britespotengraving.com/plastic-recycling-numbers.html

Stainless steel water bottles

Thermal Insulated Stainless Steel Water BottlesIf you’re still concerned about BPA and possible chemicals leaching from a plastic bottle, opt for stainless steel! These bottles are constructed from culinary-grade stainless steel and are non-reactive, meaning they won’t shed harmful toxins when filled with water. That being said, be careful not to confuse food-grade stainless steel with aluminum.

Aluminum is reactive to acidic liquids. So these aluminum bottles are typically lined with an enamel or epoxy layer, which some scientists have linked to BPA. Yes, these bottles are lightweight and feature design-centric styles, but it’s safest to keep away from them. Stainless steel offers those same attractive features without the worry of dangerous chemicals. 

Environmentally friendly water bottle options

We go to great efforts to target specific muscle groups with specific exercises on specific days. We diligently prepare our meals paying close attention to the ingredients. So, why wouldn’t we be just as intentional about the type of water bottle that we choose to hydrate our bodies with? 

Reusable plastic bottle manufacturers claim their containers haven’t contained BPA since 2010, but stainless steel has no need for any type of lining that could potentially leach harmful toxins.

Although stainless-steel bottles are more prone to denting when dropped, the material won’t crack like its plastic alternative. Many stainless-steel water bottles are double walled, vacuum sealed for thermal insulation. These superior thermal insulated water bottles will keep your cold liquids cold, and your hot beverages hot - for HOURS! 

So the next time you find yourself lost in a sea of water bottles, wade on over to the group of stainless-steel options. Your body (and our planet) will thank you!