We have all found ourselves wondering from time to time, whether that last sip of water should have been from a glass, instead of the alternative we choose to carry around and refill. It’s also hard to keep on top of all the latest news concerning plastics… is it BPA free? What is that anyway and why is it bad? What has replaced BPA in the manufacturing process, something just as bad!? Let’s hope not!
One day, out of curiosity, I read up on plastic bottles and reusing them. That same day was the day they all went into the recycling bin.
Plastics, bacteria build up and harmful chemicals
Reused plastic bottles harvest bacteria growth due to the moist conditions and contact with hands and mouth. Even if you were to wash them before reusing them, the plastic is very unstable and can easily damage, releasing chemicals into your drink.
Chemicals are also released due to the passage of time or exposure to heat. This is particularly true for PET and BPA manufactured plastics.
BPA (Bisphenol A)
An industrial chemical found in polycarbonate plastic (used to make food and beverage storing containers) and epoxy resins (used to line metals such as food cans). Some type 3 and 7 plastics (check the bottom of your plastic containers at home for the recycling sign) contain BPA and they should be avoided at all costs. BPA has been named a Hormone Disruptor as it mimics the role of certain hormones in the body leading to reproductive issues, obesity, birth defects and some cancers.
BPA has been replaced in some instances with BPS, however, this has been found to cause changes in brain development in a study of fish, causing hyperactivity. Hence, don’t just automatically trust a label that says ‘BPA Free’!
PET (Polyethylene terephthalate)
An industrial chemical mainly used in carbonated soft drink bottles due to its ability to effectively contain carbon dioxide. The toxin leached from PET plastics is called DEHA and is linked to liver problems, reproductive issues and certain cancers.
Look out for the number 1 on the bottle of your plastic containers at home.
What are the safe alternatives to drink bottles?
Ranked No.1 is the Glass Water Bottle. It usually comes with a protective silicone sleave which will generally avoid shattering if dropped.
No.2 is the Stainless Steel Bottle. Very durable and there are no nasty toxins or chemicals that can leach from it to worry about as it is a non-reactive metal. They come in all different shapes and sizes- even for the little ones!
Aluminium bottles can also replace plastic bottles, however because it is reactive with acid type liquids, it has to be lined. Generally, the liner is made out of BPA which is a concern for reasons mentioned before.
Some little facts
Did you know that 25% of bottled water sold at the supermarket comes straight from the tap?
Did you know that around 40% of bottles are not recycled and end up in land fill? It can take up to 1000 years to decompose, not good news for our environment. The other 60% is not in fact “recycled”, rather, “down cycled” which means that a whole lot of new plastic virgin materials will need to be used to produce a new product due to the loss of quality in the process.