Tuesday Tips: Plastic Water Bottle Alternatives

Our Collection of Alternatives!

A few years ago, we began to phase out our plastic sippy cups and #7 Nalgene bottles. My concerns all started with an article that I read in a magazine called Organic Living. The article detailed the hazards of plastics leaching toxins into our food and drinking water. Very recently, the safety of plastics has been addressed more thoroughly, providing the consumer with alternatives to the unsafe choices that may linger in our own kitchen cabinets.

The main concern is Bisphenol-A or better known as BPA, which is used in many baby bottles and Nalgene water bottles. BPA is considered toxic because it's a hormone disruptor. Other plastics to avoid contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Studies show the bottles are more prone to leaching when they are heated (microwave, dishwasher) and scratched or the surface has been damaged.

There are a few top plastics to avoid, it's easy to find the type of plastic (#) on the bottom of the waterbottle or plastic container, simply by looking in the triangle, typically used for recycling purposes. Now, unfortunately a few of my daughter's cups don't even have the number on the bottom, so you have to do some detective work. I will provide resources for those issues.

Definitely Avoid or Throw Away-
#3- PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
#6-Polystyrene (PS)
#7- Polycarbonate

#7, Polycarbonate are hard plastic water bottles, typically your Nalgene style bottle or baby bottles. Nalgene and Camelback are now touting their #7 Polycarbonate bottles are BPA free. Obviously you are going to have to decipher if it's a good or bad #7 by the age of the bottle. If you purchased it within the last few months and it had a sticker stating BPA Free, you are good to go. If it's old, time to toss it.

With the new or old, safe or unsafe confusion, I have phased out #7 in my home completely.

Better Plastic Alternatives:
#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE), most commonly used for bottled drinks.
#2 High Density Polyethylene
#4 Low Density Polyethylene
#5 Polypropylene, most of your disposable style food storage containers are made of this.

Top Suggestions For Safely Using Plastic-
Start to handwash your plastics. Huge pain in the butt, unfortunately the alternative may be hurting your health. Yes, warm water is ok to use, it's the temperature in the dishwasher that heats the plastic. Stop microwaving plastic NOW. Use pyrex or glass storage containers. Sniff and then taste. If it tastes like plastic, avoid it.

My Favorites-
Klean Kanteen, hands down is my favorite alternative water bottle. Why, I can safely put it in the dishwasher! It's all stainless steel and they come with sport top or Advent sippy cup tops. We purchased ours here, but more and more retailers are carrying Klean Kanteens, which now even in come in a rainbow of colors. I also enjoy Sigg or Laken water bottles, but because of their internal lining they are not dishwasher safe.

The leading authority on this topic, protecting babies and children from the hazards is Z REcommends. They put out Z Reports on BPA, do extensive studies on brands to buy and avoid. Please check them out here for a downloadable wallet size "safe brand" card!

National Geographic informative link.

We also started phasing out our plastic food storage containers, although not completely. We most often use glass storage containers from Crate and Barrel.


  1. LOVE THIS and needed it today :)
    my BUT WATERMELON HAS WATER isnt cutting it any longer.

    (oh that I were entirely kidding...)


  2. I phased out the plastic cups but I'm still guilty of cheap plastic storage containers. I did stop microwaving plastic a long time ago...progress...

  3. Thanks for sorting this out. I've been a little confused about which is safe and which is not.

  4. just curious (cause of your blogs name) did you read Elizabeth Gilbert's book? "Eat, Pray, Love: (One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)"
    I am guessing you did. If you reviewed it I'd appreciate a link to the review ... :)

  5. Thanks for the tips!

    Because of your suggestion, I just ordered some glass containers (and other stuff) from Crate & Barrel! I can't wait for it to come in the mail....

  6. My kids are SIGG nuts :) I got them last year for school and the kids are going to be able to use them again :)
    Compared to a $1.50 a week for water bottles, the SIGG has been a great investment.
    My older son likes to color coordinate his with his clothes.
    I am still guilty of plastic baggies and storage still. I know there are some sort of wraps--I should probably look into them!

  7. I read the same article, and was like AHHH The Rubber Ducky is toxic??! Its so messed up that the USA doesn't have the same standard for importing these products that the rest of the world does. In China, they ALREADY make the the bottles without the bad plastic for most European countries, but the USA doesn't give a S*** obviously. Sad sad sad.

  8. Thank you so much for putting all of this information in one place. It gets confusing trying to remember the good, the bad and the ugly with my fried mommy brain!

  9. well darn, I should have checked here first before heading out to babies r us, I just bought new sippy cups and 2 new bottles. I checked the sippy cups and they have a #2 (phew!!) and I bought bottles that use the plastic liners...and finally threw out all of her old bottles this morning...in with the old and in with the new...now she just needs a stylish klean kanteen like mommy has!!
    note to self, read eatplaylove before heading out on Tuesdays:o)

  10. Argh. If it isn't one thing...

    Thanks for the information, will try to put it to good use! The sad thing is, the first I heard of the BPA problem was through a mass forward e-mail. So, I dismissed the plastic scare as the usual "if you look at a can wrong, you'll get cancer" e-mail. Little did I know...!!!

  11. Thanks for the lovely commnent on my BBQ post.

    Yep, no worries, I'd be happy to show you the secret to a good BBQ. Bring the family over .....

    Even though it's winter here!!

  12. Great information. I just bought a Sigg water bottle, and we've phased out a lot of plastics around here.

  13. We love Sigg bottles too. I'm also trying to phase out plastic food containers. Once in awhile, Amazon has a great sale on glass. I check www.wantnot.net just for that.

  14. We've been throwing away stuff, too. I recently noticed one of my cereal bowls we've used forever has #7 on the bottom. We've been putting them in the dishwasher forever. Oh well. Definitely need to switch over to glass storage containers.

  15. I definitely need to start making the switch. I don't use too much plastic those, and I don't really heat the ones I do have. So at least I'm sort of on the way, right?

  16. Great Post! Very informative and a great read. I saw this site during my browsing and think it may be a relevant resource for your readers.www.quantumstorage.com , Keep up the great posts!

  17. Very informative post. Just got a couple of sigg bottles myself... I will def start spreading the word. Thanks for the tips on plastic bins and bottles

  18. This is an excellent stainless steel bottle which both my husband and I use daily. I bought the orange one; he uses the regular stainless steel. We used to buy tons of the plastic water bottles, drinking several a day, but wanted to cut down on our use of plastics. These water bottles work well in conjunction with my water filter system and the taste is clean and fresh tasting. Highly recommend them and this is a very usable size.


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