It’s well known in environmental advocacy that people can easily be overwhelmed by problems. They wind up feeling paralyzed, rather than motivated. In the past, I’ve treated this as a theoretical point about communications, but just this morning I’ve had to admit that I’m a living example. Here’s how.
Mountain Equipment Co-op, (aka “the REI of Canada”), just pulled from shelves a batch of polycarbonate plastics, including those ubiquitous Nalgene bottles. According to an article in the Globe and Mail:
The plastic in question is made mostly from bisphenol A, which mimics estrogen and is derived from petrochemicals. It has been linked in dozens of independent research studies to illnesses that could be caused by hormone disruption.
Now, I’ve known about the research for years. But I use those products, including the problematic Nalgene bottles, a lot. (I’m a semi-rabid hiker, backpacker, and mountain climber.) Over the last couple of years alone, I’ll bet I’ve guzzled hundreds of gallons of water from those bottles while on the trail. My bottles are old and battered, and the plastic is degraded by sunlight, heat, and ice.
Is this bad for me? What are the potential health effects? I don’t know. I keep ignoring the research. And I literally—literally—cannot get myself to finish reading the Globe and Mail article.
Patrick B. McGrath
This one is easy. Just switch to a bottle made from polyethylene (#2 I think?). $5.65 at REI, same shape, brand, and everything. Polyethylene does not leach bisphenol A.http://www.rei.com/product/402201I hear you about the paralysis, though.
We switched to unlined stainless steel Klean Kanteen a couple years ago. Give them as gifts. Lots of folks on our island community have switched. Love ’em.Plenty of my friends just reuse glass bottles like juice and wine bottles as well. They are free. Wine bottles are very strong. The cork is cool.
Hey Eric, I bravely finished the Globe and Mail article (since I’ve never used those plastic bottles anyway). It says that the potential health effects will be issued in a preliminary report next spring. Mountain Equipment gives a thumbs up to stainless-steel water bottles as an alternative to the plastic.
Better than rampant consumption of bottled water.
There are plenty of options. #2 translucent plastic water bottles are also sold by Nalgene. Sigg and numerous other companies sell aluminum water bottles and the best of the lot is probably stainless steel water bottles, which I don’t know much about other than that they don’t really leach anything.
Matt the Engineer
(considers mentioning the high amount of energy required to make stainless steel or aluminum…)
(Thoughtfully considers the point that Matt the Engineer considers mentioning. Believes, on the other hand, that “the high amount of energy” is probably worth it, since one stainless steel water bottle can last more than an entire life time…)
(Agrees with Matt the egr and counts the extra ounces of SS/aluminum to be lugged in the backpack and thinks that he’ll just stick to the lighter, flexible #2 UVPE Nalgene he’s always used, in addition to #4 LDPE bike bottles). And BTW, our Town Council is passing a Resolution tomorrow to ban purchasing bottled water for Town functions (Commissions, Open Houses, receptions, etc).
And Stainless Steel has either Chromium or Nickel content. I have no idea if they “leach” into contents of hydration bottle. I’ve got to drink my filtered water somehow! So, I have Sigg (coated aluminum) & Thermos brand (stainless).
Hi,I have heard that certain numbers on the bottom of the water bottles are okay to use, do you know what they are? And what makes these bottles okay?
‘Stainless steel’ has many different quality levels- be aware!Good link for ‘recycle codes’ and plastics types:http://www.thegreenguide.com/products/Kitchen/Plastic_Containers/4
This is all so confusing…after the research I’ve done, I decided to just switch to stainless steel for simplicity’s sake. The Klean Kanteen seems like the standard, but I found some cheaper alternatives if anyone is interested:http://mamaslittlemonkeys.blogspot.com/2008/05/bpa-is-giving-me-anxiety-attack.html
Look for the bottles with the #2 recyclable logo on the bottom. These are the safest bet. They are made from HDPE (high density polyethylene), the same stuff Tupperware is made of. HDPE has been around since the ’30s and has been used in a multitude of food grade applications. A word on Sigg. Aluminum is bad thing to ingest. This is why Sigg coats the insides their bottles with something. That something is trade secret held by Sigg. They claim that it is similar to that coating in aluminum pop cans. The kicker is that I don’t reuse pop cans and do not subject them to the possible deformation they would undergo while falling on the rock laden ground over and over through their lifetime. One thing to note about stainless is you don’t know where it’s made and what kind of QAQC occurs because they are made in China. You could be getting a nice dollop of Manganese or Lead as well. I tossed my Nalgene #7 when I read about this stuff and got the #2 as a replacement. I constantly made hot cocoa, soup, and other foors with nearly boiling water in my #7, mixed up the contents with a spoon, fork, knife so I know that the bottle has been subjected to abuse of the inside lining.
I mostly use HDPE or PP bicycle-type bottles for drinking. I have a few Nalgene polycarbonate bottles, but I use them for the opposite purpose—as urinals. (The wide mouth is very useful in that application)
Pics Canada has discovered an innovative way to provide consumers with an alternative to disposable plastic water bottles.These stainless steel water bottles are eco-friendly (reusable/recyclable), free of Bisphenol-A (BPA) and allow for the consumer to design and decorate their own bottle with photos, artwork, embroidery and more.For more information visit http://pics-canada.com or http://pics-usa.com
I use the old BPE bottle for dry storage like a map, matches and the like when I kayak. Don’t toss, just re-purpose the bottle in your kit.
I highly suggest Klean Kanteen if you want to go the stainless steel route. I use Camelbak products quite often because they’re lightweight and perfect for taking on a job/run. Both companies are very eco-friendly and they are BPA free! Thanks for posting, let’s go, green!