We all by now have begun to realize that single-use plastic water bottles are a problem. Not only are they made from a thin plastic that can leach chemicals into the water inside the bottle, but they are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. While recyclable, a staggering amount of plastic single-use bottles end up in landfills or in the ocean. Americans throw away 35 billion plastic bottles every year, and it takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade.
Glass, Stainless Steel, or Plastic - What's Best?
The first step in the right direction is using your own reusable water bottle and refilling it with filtered water or another beverage of choice. We're glad you're here, and have hopefully made the commitment to stop using disposable plastic bottles and switch to reusable.
At Blossom Bottles, we provide a wide selection of reusable water bottles of different types for everyday usage as well as for outdoor excursions. We are often asked the question "what material makes for the best water bottle?" by our customers. This is very understandable, for it is true that not all water bottles are created equally, and it can be difficult to choose the best option for your personal needs.
So, we wanted to shine some light on the subject by creating a "pros and cons" list for the bottle materials that we offer in our store. We carry bottles that are made from glass, stainless steel, and certain hard plastics.
Everyone has the right to their personal preference, and for this reason we offer a selection of bottle materials and leave the decision up to you. This article is simply meant to help provide you with the most accurate, unbiased information possible, and from there, the choice is yours.
Let's take a look at the "pros and cons" of glass, stainless steel, and plastic.
PROS: Glass is largely considered the healthiest material for storing beverages. Glass is made from 100% natural raw materials, and is non-permeable, meaning that it does not break down into the water or impart flavors (some call this "purity of taste") or retain odors. Glass is the most environmentally-friendly material for water storage due to its natural production and its ability to be infinitely recycled. Glass is safe for storing hot or cold beverages, acidic or alkaline beverages, and oils. This is the reason that glass is used for bottling beer, wine, spirits, and quality olive oil and vinegar.
CONS: Glass is fragile, and has the potential to break more easily than a stainless steel or plastic bottle. However, in our store, most of our glass bottles are made from borosilicate glass, which is a harder type of glass (think Pyrex), and many of these glass bottles are in fact made for sport (or for kids) with a protective silicone sleeve to help prevent breakage. Non-food safe glass could contain residues of lead or cadmium, but in our case, our glass bottles are all made from high-quality borosilicate or soda-lime glass, and have been tested and certified to not contain any metallic residues.
PROS: Stainless steel is also a safe and healthy material for storing beverages. Stainless steel is a safe option for storing hot beverages when the bottle is insulated. For the outdoors, stainless steel thermos bottles with double-walled insulation are often the best solution for keeping your beverages or foods such as soup warm for extended periods of time. Food grade stainless steel is considered to not break down into hot or cold liquids in normal circumstances, and is safe to use for storage and cooking of food. For our stainless steel bottles, we use 18/8 or 304 food-grade quality stainless steel, that has been tested to not contain residual metals.
CONS: Although stainless steel does not break down into food or liquid to a measurable degree, some people have reported a "metallic taste" in water left in a non-insulated stainless steel vessel for extended periods of time in direct sunlight or a hot car. This is not a recommended practice, and we advise always using insulated stainless steel with hot liquids or in hot external conditions for long periods of time. Also, one should be careful to not use stainless steel for storing highly acidic liquids, as this can cause leaching of the metal. There is also concern regarding the production of stainless steel, in that nickel and chromium are extracted from ores using energy intensive extraction processes. There is some concern that stainless steel can leach iron, nickel, or chromium into extremely acidic or alkaline substances.
PROS: Plastic, being lightweight and flexible, is often seen as the best option for outdoor sports or the gym, as it cannot break or shatter if dropped. If going on a run, or especially if competing in a marathon or race, lightness can be key, and plastic might be the best solution in this case. Some people prefer plastic for mounting on a bicycle or for taking along to sporting events, in the case that the bicycle hits the ground or that a flying ball comes the wrong way.
CONS: Plastic is a recyclable material, but it is made from non-renewable resources. Plastic can present the problem of breaking down (leaching) into liquids if the bottle is left in hot temperatures or with liquid inside for extended periods of time. Plastic can leach chemicals used in its production into water and leave a noticeable difference in taste. It is also a concern that some plastics contain BPA, a known endocrine-disrupting substance, as well as other hazardous substances such as formaldehyde and phthalates. However, in our store, we do not use any BPA-containing plastics. We use only certain hard plastics such as polypropylene (number 5 plastic) and Tritan plastic, that are much less susceptible to leaching chemicals and leaving a plastic taste in water with respect to other types of plastic. Read more here about the types of plastic we sell at Blossom Bottles.