Sunday, May 4, 2008

Water Bottles - Part 1 of 2

I'm a bad person. Or rather, I've been behaving badly. Whatever. Your pick. It's because I've been reusing those single-use 16.9 oz. bottles that we're not supposed to reuse.

One bottle, actually.

I reused the same bottle for the past five years because I like the push-pull sports cap and the small size is perfect for be-bopping around town running errands as well as for home.

I washed it only a few times during the entire period, too, by dripping a few drops of dish-washing liquid into it, filling it with hot water, and shaking it vigorously before rinsing it out. The sports cap got washed frequently because I lost the dust cap the first week, but not the interior of the bottle itself. I've rinsed it, but why would it need to be washed? I kept the cap closed except while drinking, only clean water's ever been inside, and there's no bacteria from my mouth entering on the backflow because it's never touched my lips, nor anyone else's for that matter, and anything on the opening of the cap got rinsed away while I was drinking. That's the beauty of using a sports cap.

Using a sports cap saves lipstick, too.

I've even repeatedly filled it halfway and frozen it. However, I didn't use it this past winter and when I got it out to use again last week, it smelled funny. I thought about it and got rid of the bottle. It was time.

Now, I need another water bottle. I can't get another small bottle of water because I've found those with sports caps sold only by the case. That's too many.

I could get the smaller 12 oz. version of the Nalgene ATB that I got for hiking that has a sports cap with a permanently attached dust cover, but before I do, I want to know: What other options are there?

Glass bottles are the best for health, good taste, and no odor plus they're 100% recyclable. I see that Aquasana has a Mother's Day special of free shipping for their set of six 750 ml glass bottles, but the size is too large, there's no sports cap, and glass is fragile and among the heaviest of the available water bottles.

Aluminum is another option and it would be fun to pick out one from SIGG. Aluminum is lightweight and durable, except for being easily scratched and dented, but may impart a metallic taste and odor and can't be squeezed for sports caps. For the people who suck on a sports cap like a straw, not being able to squeeze the bottle isn't a concern although they'll have to suck really hard unless they loosen the cap which may cause it to leak. For those who use sports caps to direct the downward flow of liquid into their upturned mouths as I do, not being able to squeeze the bottle will preclude this method of drinking.

Another inconvenience is that a SIGG bottle can't be frozen or put into ice as in a cooler because it may be damaged to the extent that it splits. It's safe to chill one only in a refrigerator.

Also, I've been told there are no health issues related to aluminum, but I doubt the couple that vouched for its safety in regards to Alzheimer's because, from what I know, the jury's still out. The insides of the SIGG bottles are supposed to be safe because they're lined with a water-based epoxy called Rezin, but if the liner is scratched or otherwise damaged, we're back to the issue of health and aluminum since unlined aluminum bottles leach Bisphenol A (BPA).

Our third option is stainless steel. Being metal, it shares similar properties with aluminum such as temperature transference and the possibility of getting expanded out of shape when frozen with even a small amount of water. Even so, it's the better choice over aluminum although it's twice as heavy as a plastic bottle and gets scratches and dents despite its durability. That it can be washed only with a mild detergent because chlorine can corrode stainless steel is not an issue for me.

An odd consideration is that any metallic taste experienced with stainless steel might be neutralized by using a plastic cap.

Those allergic to nickel may want to avoid it, since nickel is a component of stainless steel. However, bottles made with 18/10 stainless steel have low amounts of nickel in the alloy and may be safe.

Klean Kanteen is one of the best-known stainless steel water bottles and Nalgene, famous for it's many leakproof containers, has teamed up with Guyot Designs so we may have stainless steel bottles that are the same size as Nalgene's popular polycarbonate bottles which are being discontinued over the next several months to eliminate any customers' concerns about BPA. This ensures that our Easy Sippers, bottle clothing, filters, etc., will still fit our water bottles even though they're new bottles made of metal instead of plastic.

That brings us back to plastic. What kind? With the news of this and that plastic leaching health hazards, which plastics are safe and how do we tell them apart?

Continued in Part 2

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