Plastic bottles can take up to 1,000 years before they begin to biodegrade once buried. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year's supply of bottled water. That's enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars.
Ready to kick the bottled water habit? Your wallet, your health and the earth will thank you. Americans spend approximately $18 billion per year on bottled water, which oftentimes is no better for you than what comes from the tap. The practice makes us highly reliable on fossil fuels, used to create the plastic and ship it around the globe and across the country. While most bottles are recyclable, nearly 80% end up right in the landfill.
But beware of what kind of reusable bottle you replace your disposable version with. Hard, clear plastic bottles (tinted or not) traditionally contain BPA, or Bisphenol A, a hormone-mimicking chemical linked to a host of health problems. Due to public pressure, many manufacturers are opting against the chemical, and labeling their products "BPA-free." Still, plastics wear over time, and should not be heated. The safest option is high quality stainless steel (look for 18/8 or 18/10 on the bottom) or an aluminum bottle with a water-based, nontoxic lining, such as those from Sigg. Beware of look-alike aluminum bottles or low-grade stainless steel, which may impart a metal taste in your beverage, and can leach these metals.
Stainless steel bottles are available online and in stores everywhere. Check out the Drop of Hope Sigg water bottle, which donates $5 from every purchase to the Jane Goodall Institute to help improve clean water access in Africa.
Klean Kanteen (made from 18/8 stainless steel) is another safe choice. Four dollars of the sale of each pink bottle goes to The Breast Cancer Fund, which identifies and advocates for elimination of environmental and other preventable causes of the disease.
The Safe Sippy specializes in bottles for babies and toddlers.
Editors note: Since this was published, SIGG revealed that it had previously used Bisphenol A in its liners.
For more tips about keeping your child healthy and safe, sign up for the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology newsletter.