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Some looked at the creative reuse of plastic water bottles by communities in Uganda, the Philippines, and right here in Macomb County, Michigan. Plant pots, salt shakers, lighting fixtures, irrigation, and even walls for a greenhouse were concepts communities came up with. While the articles highlighted some steps international and local communities are taking to curb the plastic problem it also provided steps to help eliminate it from every day use. One of those steps is to simply carry your own reusable bottle, which we are seeing more and more of these days. In fact, traditional public water fountains are becoming equipped to refill personal water bottles as well.

But between steel, plastic and glass, which is the best? The truth of the matter is that there are pros and cons to owning each.

Stainless steel bottles have a number of pros and cons. Typically, they last longer than glass or plastic because they are corrosion resistant, and do not leach chemicals when exposed to sun/heat. They are generally more expensive than plastic, as the cost to produce them is much higher due to being energy intensive. However, stainless steel is 100 percent recyclable. The best option for selecting stainless steel water bottles is food grade #304 or 18/8, which means there are 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel. Additional information on stainless steel water bottles can be found online.

Glass is another option when choosing water bottles. Most of us know that just about every beverage tastes better out of a glass bottle or cup, but the downside is that they are breakable and less likely to last a long time compared to plastic or stainless steel. In addition, recycling rate is low and some public places do not allow glass too. However, in addition to tasting great glass does not leach when left in the sun/heat, but the cost of a glass water bottle is generally much higher than our other two options.

Plastic seems to be the most popular reusable water bottle, although glass and stainless are gaining in popularity for the reasons listed here. Plastic water bottles, or water mugs are cheaper to produce than stainless steel and glass, which makes them very attractive for consumers. However, the recycling rate of some plastic water mugs is low and the life cycles are short too. Plastic water bottles often end up in landfills and can take nearly 700 years before they start to decompose. One of the biggest downsides to plastic water bottles is that they leach, whereas glass and stainless steel do not. Consumers with apprehensions over plastics leaching chemicals may want to review the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more information, such as the use of Bisphenol A (BPA)-a chemical component often found in polycarbonate plastic. Some manufacturers of reusable water bottles do produce products free of this chemical and typically note that on labels or the item itself. In addition, plastics made with BPA will often have a resin code of 7 appearing on the item. 

Stainless Steel Water Mugs are Eco-Friendly

Stainless steel is made out of natural elements to start with, and they can be easily recycled into new products when the time comes. Though plastic bottles are often made from recycled materials and can be recycled themselves, both creating and recycling plastic is less friendly to the environment than stainless steel production and recycling.

Stainless Steel Water Bottles are Much More Durable than Plastic

If you’ve ever used a plastic water bottle, you know how flimsy they can be. Some plastic water bottles are meant for one-time use and crush easily. Others are made to be used multiple times. However, those can melt when washed in the dishwasher. Even if you run over a stainless steel water bottle with your truck, it will survive.

Stainless steel bottles can be used under virtually any condition. Because of their versatility and durability, stainless steel water bottles are the bottles of choice for many athletes and adventurers, also are some glass water mugs.

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