04/15/2009 11:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Ode to a (Reusable) Water Bottle

Here's a simple question: How many of us ever leave the house these days empty-handed? The answer is practically no one. Even little kids these days are decked out with gear - back packs and hockey sticks, ballet slippers and Blackberrys. And celebrities - with someone else doing their bag schlepping - have become instead inseparable from their water bottles - like plastic security blankets. So would switching to reusable water bottles cramp any of our styles?

We're throwing away 38 billion single-use bottles per year, and in the U.S. and the U.K. there's talk of 'mining' our garbage dumps to try to get out the recyclable plastic material.

That's great, but it's not the entire answer. Single-use plastic bottles are convenient, and that convenience has come with some pretty hefty downsides. The first of which is the Pacific Garbage Gyre, which perhaps should be called the Pacific Plastic Gyre, since plastic is mostly what the Gyre is made up of. But in case you were envisioning a gently bobbing island of plastic trash ready to be scooped away by a flotilla of garbage barges, guess again. The Gyre is more like the visible part of a hidden illness - our oceans slowly emptying of life and filling instead with plastic pellets.

Unfortunately the Gyre is pretty much out of sight, out of mind most of the time. Much closer to our hearts (literally) is the Bisphenol A that inhabits our plastic and with some scientific certainty is leaching out of the plastic and into our bodies. As Science News writer Rachel Ehrenberg puts it,

"The rap sheet for Bisphenol A just keeps getting longer. But the chemical still has friends at the FDA."

So on to the ode. There are not only urgently good reasons to switch over to a reusable bottle, there are also practical advantages (you'll drink more water, you'll save money) and you'll move into the post-plastic age, a cool and Bisphenol A-free place to be.


The Swiss standard of reusable bottles is the Sigg. Sigg bottles are lovable for a lot of reasons - they are available at places like Whole Foods, and they come in so many patterns that it's practically impossible not to find one you like - plus there are seven different sizes to choose from.

Kleen Kanteen bottles are the other favorite, made from stainless steel (as opposed to Sigg's lined aluminum), weighing in at about 8 ounces, and coming in fewer fancy colors and patterns than Siggs, but getting more colorful all the time.

How hard is it to stash the Sigg or Kleen Kanteen in whatever bag you favor, as you are rushing out the door? It's a lot easier than you might think. It is all in developing the habit, and that, according to yoga gurus, takes about a 30-day stretch of consistent practice - putting it where you can see it, by the door, nestled in one of your shoes, clipped by carabiner to your backpack.

After the 30-days, you may just find that the bottle becomes as much a part of your personal style as your choice of bag and brand of shoes. And somebody needs to help all those clueless celebrities kick their heavy Bisphenol habit.

More from TreeHugger on BPA-free living
::Don"t Buy A Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This
::Nalgene Dumps Bisphenol Like A Hot Potato
::Bisphenol A: How Wal-Mart Became the New FDA
::Time To Pack In The Polycarbonates
::Book Review: Bottlemania