Water bottle

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The simple bottle for storing water on the go, choosing a water bottle is no longer a simple decision. There are health and environmental concerns associated with different types of water bottles. It is omnipresent -- hotels, restaurants, trains, airplanes, schools, offices and sports centres and isused by all age groups and class.


[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

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The past two decades have seen the popularity of plastic water bottles. Research has brought to light certain facts that a consumer needs to know before choosing a water bottle for their use. Water stored for longer periods and at higher temperatures in plastic bottles can have a harmful impact on health. Some micro-organisms, which are normally of little or no public health significance, may grow to higher levels in a plastic storage bottles. These organisms appear to have little or no growth in tap water and in water bottled in glass containers as against stagnant water and water bottled in plastic containers.

For environmental resons too, it appears prudent that we humans begin a concentrated and very serious effort to drastically reduce the amount of water we consume from plastic bottles. There are many alternatives available today -- plastic bottles, bottled water, metallic bottles and even glass bottle. Here are a few tips that might help you choose.

[edit] All about water bottles

Water bottles can be made of steel, glass, aluminum, plastic and other materials.

  • Steel bottles -- Though durable, the temperature of the water in steel bottles rises during hot days. The stainless steel bottles address both health and environment concerns
  • Aluminum bottles -- The fear of chemicals leaching into the water in the heat is high. Pure aluminum bottles can be avoided. They are not durable either .
  • Glass bottles -- These are again susceptible to temperature changes They are also breakable.
  • Plastic bottles -- Often made of polycarbonate plastic (PET Bottle) offers the benefits of durability and heat-resistance, but it is also a plastic known to leach the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

[edit] Water bottle and health

Many water bottles in the market, like many soda containers, are made of a hard plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, or PET. While the material is perfectly safe for single use, it is not designed for repeated reuse, says Kellogg Schwab, an environmental microbiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: "Your mouth leaves a film that harbors bacteria, and the bottle's narrow mouth makes it hard to clean."[1] Reusable water bottles merit scrutiny as well. Polycarbonates contain bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic hormone that acts like the hormone estrogen. It has been observed that trace amounts of BPA do seep into room-temperature water. When the containers are filled with boiling water--a common practice for climbers in cold climates--the BPA releases 55 times as fast.

[edit] Water bottle and the environment

The ubiquitous bottled water, originally associated with a healthy lifestyle, is not so healthy for the environment.

Aside from the fact that making so many individual water bottles creates a large carbon footprint, many types of plastics in the water bottles can be recycled only once. What is worse, in New Jersey, it has been estimated that up to 70 percent of plastic water bottles are not recycled at all. Instead, they end up in landfills or incinerators, where they pollute the environment. It is estimated that in the US, 2 million tons of plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year. [2]

There is a school of thought which advocates that even reusable water bottles should not be used. They question the safety of bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone-disrupting chemical known to leach out. Studies show that even extremely low doses of the chemical can be damaging. Research has linked the chemical to a variety of disorders, including obesity and breast cancer, birth defects and miscarriages.[3]

[edit] What can I do?

Pay attention to the type of plastic your water bottle is made of, to ensure that the chemicals in the plastic do not leach into the water. If you can taste plastic, then you are drinking it, so get yourself another bottle.

To be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine. The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it. Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with water from water filter at home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill.

Unfortunately, those fabulous colourful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA.

You could go for lightweight, foodgrade steel bottles as an option. Store water in glass or brass if possible, and out of direct sunlight.

[edit] Caring for water bottles

  • If you use polycarbonate water bottles, then wash the new ones properly before using.
  • Wash bottles by hand with a mild detergent; do not wash in dishwashers.
  • Avoid using bleach or strong detergents when washing.
  • Keep bottles out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources.
  • Replace old bottles which appear faded, worn or crazed.
  • Never use PC bottles in a microwave.
  • Use PC bottles for cold water only, and not for hot beverages.

[edit] Learn/Unlearn

[edit] Bio-polymer bottles and casein free adhesives

The first bottled water company to launch a bio-polymer bottle into the market was Biota [4] in the USA in 2005, followed by the UK-based Belu [5] in 2006. Good Water [6] uses that same technology and goes one step further by using the wood pulp label and water-based adhesive.

The water is packaged in a compostable bottle made from a corn-based bioplastic, an alternative to petroleum-based plastics that are recyclable, but not biodegradable and which can also leach chemicals into the liquid it holds.

The bottle will decompose entirely within 80 days, but only when exposed to constant heat and humidity. Though the Biota label is biodegradeable, the cap is not.

Current bottle labeling formulations [7] are normally based on either casein or synthetic (acrylic) polymer technology in combination with starch. Good water uses water based adhesive suitable for industrial bottle labeling applications and which is 100% free of casein, gelatin and synthetic polymer.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • The UN Environment Programme estimates that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean on Earth. [8]
  • Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60W bulb for up to 6 hours. [9]
  • Like all plastic, these bottles will be with us forever since plastic does not biodegrade; rather, it breaks down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate our soil and waterways. [3]
  • It is estimated that 30 billion single-serving bottles of water are gulped down each year in the United States.
  • 1.5 million barrels of petroleum are used to produce plastic water bottles in the United States each year. That is enough to supply 250,000 homes with electricity for a year or 100,000 cars with gasoline for a year.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Nalgene water bottle safety concerns
  • Freshen Up Your Drink, Time magazine
  • Which plastic water bottles don't leach chemicals?

[edit] Source

  1. Freshen Up Your Drink, Time Magazine
  2. Water-Bottle Waste
  3. 3.0 3.1 [1]
  4. [2]
  5. UK-based Belu
  6. [3]
  7. [4]
  8. [5]
  9. [6]