Top 5 reasons why you don't want this recyclable plastic water bottle

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Summer time, thirsty, you step in a store and see this in front of you: a plastic water bottle. And it’s just $2.99. Here are the 5 reasons why you should keep walking because you don’t need this plastic water bottle, or any other for that matter.

The purpose of this post is not to be kind to this plastic water bottle, so let’s be fair, in a way, and recognize the good “things” it has going for itself. It’ll be quick:

  • Made of plastic #1. PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is one of the safest plastic for human health, and it especially matters for food related items. It is also widely recyclable via most waste management programs. This plastics list will tell you all you need to know about plastics. Knowledge is power, especially when so many unsafe options are used in our daily lives.
  • Made in the USA. There’s a growing appetite for buying local American-made goods and this company smartly cashes-in on it. It is always good to know this bottle is not yet another cheap, polluting item (hmm, that part is still true), possibly unsafely or unethically made abroad.


Now the 5 main reasons why this is a “Thanks, but no thanks” kind of item:

  • Purpose of this item? What is the use for this bottle? The label says “Water bottle dispenser”: What does this mean? It does not “dispense water bottle” per se! This is a confusing name likely illustrating a confusing concept. Since there is a handle, you may think it is to pour water in people’s glasses. Yet, there is a lift-top, sport-type of cap, usually used for personal use. You could always unscrew the top to pour water to others but then why is it there? Also worth noting that these tops are hard to clean and make an easy target for bacteria growth.
  • Confusing size: 72oz. No matter how you look at it, the size is unpractical. If it is meant for personal use, then it is too big: heavy to carry when full and not an easy fit in a shoulder bag. If it is a water dispenser, then it is quite small and kind of defeat the purpose of having it.
  • Made of plastic. Even with the “safest” types of plastic (based on current scientific knowledge), it is still considered unsafe to drink from them, let alone re-drink over and over from them. They may leach chemicals into the water, and risks increase if the bottle gets heated (exposure to the sun, heat).  We also don’t know what type of plastic the top is made of… And are bottle and cap BPA-free? It is now a non-mandatory but obvious safe move/quick win from companies to add the “BPA-free” stamp if they can, even more for food related items. And when the stamp is missing, that definitely raises concerns…
  • Expensive AND empty plastic water bottle. For $2.99 you get 72oz of empty plastic. A few feet from that bin was another one, full of the typical 16.9oz plastic water bottles, selling $0.50 each. Paying almost 30% more for no water?? Not that the $0.50 bottle was cheap to begin with. Let’s not forget that the average cost of tap water is $0.002 per gallon! But that makes that empty plastic water bottle even less of a good buy.
  • No recommended number of reuses. How long or how many times should this bottle be reused? No directions on the bottle label.

This is the type of item that are stuffed in a “looks like clearance but may not be clearance” bins by the entrance or by the exit of a store. That is usually indicative of a product you may “impulse buy” only at that moment: like a hat, or water when it’s hot, or an umbrella when it is raining. It is (seems) cheap, seems (if you don’t look too closely) like a useful and adapted to the current circumstances item, and you may well grab it unconsciously thinking it’ll always be useful. That bottle is a good example of how looking at those bargains closer may completely change your perception of them!

Now to end on a green note since the purpose of showing this item’s flaws is to suggest a better option, this hopefully showed you, from a health, financial and sustainability perspective that it is worth investing in a reusable, safe, eco-friendly bottle. Like glass or stainless steel. It’ll last a lifetime, won’t expose your health to chemicals, and will pay back in no time. Not to mention several other added benefits of always having your reusable water bottle with you. When you know that it requires 17 million barrels of oil (that’s the equivalent to fueling over 1 million cars per year!), just to feed the US market of plastic water bottles per year, do we even need to say more to convince you to take a look at a reusable water bottle option?

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