Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reduce, Recycle--Do NOT Re-use!

I'm a cheapskate, I admit it. I hate to buy stuff. When I do have to buy stuff, I try to make it last. I'm also concerned about the environment. So when It comes to "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle", I'm in my comfort zone. I regularly wash out plastic water and soda bottles and re-fill them, using them during exercise or just around the house. Now it may not be a surprise to anyone but me, but this is actually a REALLY BAD IDEA:

from "What You Need to Know Before You Reuse that Water Bottle," Huffington Post:

...experts pointed out that commercial bottled water manufacturers don't recommend that consumers reuse their disposable bottles. That's because "everyday wear and tear from repeated washings and reuse can lead to physical breakdown of the plastic, such as visible thinning or cracks. Bacteria can harbor in the cracks, posing a health risk," they wrote.
It seems unfair that something that does not otherwise degrade, hence the Reducing, Re-using and Recycling, is susceptible to damage that will make me sick. Even if I wash it like crazy. And, as long as we're at it, let's say hello to our old friend, BPA:
Surely your inner germaphobe is thinking, "No problem, I'll just pop all my water bottles in the dishwasher and that'll take care of that." While the "impact of dishwashing or washing in hot (say 120-degree household hot water) should be minor on the chemical structure of most plastics intended as being 'dishwasher safe,'" disposable bottles "are intended to be used [one] time and then disposed, not reused," says Scott Belcher, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at the University of Cincinnati, who has conducted research on the release of endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) from different kinds of water bottles. "Heating will certainly increase the rate at which chemicals can migrate from the plastic," he says.
I don't know about you, but there's no way I'm going to buy new bottles of water every time I want to go to the gym. So what are my choices?

Those numbers on plastic? They all mean something. Follow this link to learn more.
Safer choices include bottles crafted from safer HDPE (plastic #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE, AKA plastic #4) or polypropylene (PP, or plastic #5). Aluminum bottles, such as those made by SIGG and sold in many natural food and natural product markets, and stainless steel water bottles are also safe choices and can be reused repeatedly and eventually recycled.

All good, right? thought I. I'll just go out and buy a reusable bottle, marked with a 2, a 4 or a 5. Or maybe I'll just look into what one of those SIGG bottles cost....whoa Nelly! 24.99 and up?! Jeez! 

Okay, so I started looking around in local stores. I noticed a whole top-to-bottom shelf of "BPA-free" bottles in Joann's Fabrics, each costing 8.99 a pop. Better, but still too much. Next stop, grocery store. They had the same stuff for the exact same price in the bottled water aisle. I felt I could still do better, so I kept looking, and I was right:

I found this 2-pack for 9.99 in the plastic container aisle (ziploc bags and Tupperware-type stuff). At 5.49 a piece, I could feel good about it. Go me. 

UPDATE: I've been using them for a couple of weeks, and I must say I am more than pleased. They are sturdy, haven't leaked so far, and water tastes fresh and not like plastic. I especially enjoy the opening you drink from; it's rounded and comfortable, much better that the often sharp edge of a disposable drinking bottle. And the wide neck makes it easy to clean. If you are looking for something that can do hot or cold, then obviously these babies aren't for you. But if you just want a bottle you can re-use without fear of dangerous chemicals, and you're on a budget, then I highly recommend it.

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