Chances are someone has told you not to reuse those disposable, cheap water bottles, but maybe you just thought they were being overly paranoid. Here is a list of reasons, supported by science, for why you really should stop - and check out our roundup of reusable water bottles instead.
Most bottles of water are made of PTE (number 1) plastic (3) and are only intended to be safe to use once. When reused, they can start to leach chemicals into the liquid inside, which can then start messing with the way your body creates hormones (1, 4). And not like when you were a teenager. Instead, these chemicals are called endocrine disruptors. This means it looks like estrogen in your body, which can lead to things like increased risk of breast cancer or lowered sperm production.
That is really the most important reason to stop refilling and drinking out of plastic water bottles. But, there are a couple of other reasons why bottled water is bad for you and can come back around to harm your health.
1) Only 32% of Plastic Water Bottles are Recycled
While the bottles can be easily recycled, very few ever are (2). That means the other 68% end up in landfills or as litter around cities and towns. These often then end up in waterways and our oceans. When plastic bottles get into waterways and start degrading, they leak chemicals into the groundwater and oceans, which can get back to us. This happens either through the water we use in our homes because the particles are too small to be filtered out in typical water treatment plants, or because fish eat the small pieces of plastic released from the bottles as they start to degrade, and then we eat the fish.
2) No Standards for Bottled Water
There is little to no regulation on what is in bottled water. There are many standards for tap water, and tap water is routinely tested for contaminants. This could mean that natural spring water actual puts you at a higher risk of ingesting bacteria or heavy metals that by law have to be treated for by tap water treatment facilities. To look up more about your tap water, and find filters that are best for the water in your area, you can check the EWG tap water database.
3) Climate Change
Plastic bottles are made of petroleum, which uses quite a bit of energy to produce and is contributing to climate change. Climate change is affecting everything from agriculture to air quality - all of which impact health. We could go on more, but hopefully you already understand why climate change is scary for health.
4) Climate Change (again!)
All of the gas and other energy needed to package and ship the bottled water to your home isn't helping with climate change either! The average carbon footprint for a bottle of water is 11-31 times larger than having a glass of water from your tap (2).
5) It's Expensive
Generally a glass of water from your kitchen sink is pennies compared to the dollar or more you might shell out for a bottle of water. This isn't really health related, but if it helps sway you, we are all for sharing the facts. It would take you over 50 refills to get your money's worth from the plastic bottle (5). Chances are the bottle won't last that long, and you really shouldn't want it to (see point 1 above).
Reusable water bottles don't weigh much and they are more fun. Often times, they are also larger, so you won't have to refill as many times throughout the day, unless you really want to. Check out our roundup of great stainless steel and glass reusable water bottles to find your inspiration.