As you know, water is crucial to your health and wellbeing. In fact, we even included staying well hydrated in our list of 12 ways to stay happy and healthy. We all know that we should stay hydrated, but it is often easier said than done - especially in an age where plastic water containers are suspect. Plastic bottles, including the ones used in office water coolers could have carcinogenic chemicals that can leach into the water. Even if the bottle is listed as BPA-free, it could still contain other toxic materials.
Below are some tips for getting the water you need, without getting the plastic chemicals you don't.
Start at the Water Cooler
If you have a cooler that uses those big plastic bottles, you might want to consider trading it in for a tankless model instead. If you think about it, some of those jugs could sit for weeks before they ever get used. If the storage room is a little warm, those jugs could warm up and increase the risk of chemicals leaching into the water. Water coolers from Quench, and similar companies, filter the water directly from the tap instead of storing it in big plastic jugs.
Not only do these water coolers reduce your risk of exposure to the toxins in plastic, they also take up less space and produce less landfill. They also reduce carbon emission s because you no longer have drivers delivering and picking up the jugs every week. There are entire cities that have banned plastic water bottles because of their impact on the environment.
Change your Water Bottle
There are three materials that are an excellent substitute for plastic bottles, aluminum, stainless steel and glass, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses.
Aluminum is extremely light weight and durable. If you drop it, it won't break but it can dent. It is also one of the cheaper alternatives to plastic.
The disadvantage to aluminum is that it is very reactive, so aluminum bottles often have to be lined to prevent them from rusting. Unfortunately, most bottle manufacturers do not disclose what those liners are made of, so it's possible to end up with an aluminum bottle that's lined with plastic. Aluminum bottles are also not dishwasher safe, and they can often give your liquids a faint metallic taste, even when lined. Aluminum bottles can also conduct heat and get really hot when left in the sun or in a hot car.
Stainless steel is a special alloy designed to be non-reactive and not rust, or "stain." Stainless steel water bottles are fairly light weight and highly durable. You can drop them and they might dent, but they won't break. They are also dishwasher safe.
The disadvantage to stainless steel is that it conducts heat really well, which means they can get really hot if you leave them in your car or out in the sun. It also contains nickel, which some people are allergic to. Also, although it is supposed to be non-reactive, it can still give your liquids a faint metallic taste. Stainless steel bottles are also one of the more expensive alternatives to plastic.
Glass water bottles are generally the best when it comes to taste. Unlike plastic, glass is non-porous, and unlike aluminum, it is non-reactive. This means it doesn't absorb flavors and odors form other things, and it won't oxidize and add its own flavor to your beverage. Also, glass is made from sand, which is a renewable resource, and it does not contain chemicals that can leach into your liquids. Glass bottles do not conduct heat as easily as metal, although if you leave a bottle in a hot environment, it will warm up.
Glass bottles can either be cheap or expensive depending on where you get them. For example, if you repurpose an glass milk bottle you're looking at less than $5; on the other hand, a specially made glass sports water bottle, with a silicone sleeve, could set you back $25 or more.
The disadvantage to glass bottles is that they tend to be heavier than stainless steel or aluminum, even when empty. Glass can also be slippery and difficult to hold, especially if your hands are sweaty. Also, glass is not durable at all; if you drop glass it will shatter, and those shards can be dangerous.
Choosing Your Bottle
Your best bet is to have multiple bottles for multiple needs.
You could use a glass bottle for your desk at work where you are less likely to drop and break it. You could even forego the bottle and just bring a drinking glass from home. However, the advantage to a bottle is that it's covered to prevent spills if you accidentally knock it over.
You could use a stainless steel or aluminum bottle for the gym, or when you know you will be in a situation where you might drop it.
Regardless of the style of bottle you use, switching from plastic can do wonders for your health.