Last Updated on September 22, 2021
Globally, more than a million plastic bottles are sold every minute. In the U.S., only 30% of these bottles are recycled.
Thankfully, there are so many reusable water bottles on the market that you don’t have to contribute to single-use alternatives. But it can be hard to choose which is right for you – glass, stainless steel or plastic? So, this blog post is here to help you find the BEST reusable water bottle for you!
For me, the best water bottle is one that’s going to last a long time so I don’t have to waste resources by replacing it with a new one. Investing in high quality items means less will go to waste and doesn’t support mass consumerism.
So every reusable bottle on this list is built to last, and will keep you hydrated without harming the earth.
what’s the problem with plastic bottles?
Plastic bottles, or more specifically single-use bottles, are a problem because we’re overconsuming them. According to The Guardian, 20,000 plastic water bottles are sold every second globally.
the problems with bottled water at beginning of the lifecycle:
These mass produced bottles are commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is non-renewable and petroleum based. Yep, plastic is a product of the oil industry. Be sure to check out my full blog post on how plastic is made.
the problems with bottled water mid-lifecycle:
And this doesn’t even begin to cover water usage. Did you know it takes 3 liters of water to make 1 liter of bottle water? That’s all the water used in the creation of the product!
I could write another blog post going into detail of how bottled water companies steal water from communities, pay next to nothing for it, and make billions. Nestle is one of the biggest offenders and you can read more here.
the problems with bottled water end-of-lifecycle:
Plastic’s carbon footprint is high from beginning to end. In 2015, the emissions from plastic were nearly equal to 1.8 billion metric tons of CO2.
If these bottles get into our waterways, they break up not down. So it becomes a-whole-nother issue – microplastics! See my blog post on what they are and and what we can do about them.
is tap water better than bottled water?
Tap water is generally a better option because an estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is just tap water. Also, tap water is monitored constantly whereas bottled water goes through no kind of regulation or monitoring.
All tap suppliers must provide annual quality reports to their customers. You can even test the water yourself using standard consumer test packages.
Obviously, in some places like Flint, Michigan, tap water is not the better option. But for the majority of the U.S., tap is the better choice.
Bottled water companies also steal from natural springs, sometimes going so far as to dry the spring up. From 2018 to 2020 alone, Nestle stole 173 million more gallons from the San Bernardo National Forest than it was permitted to do.
The irony is that all this happened while California residents faced water restrictions amid the state’s second dry year in a row.
Also, bottled water requires up to 2,000 times the energy used to produce tap water. A typical one-liter bottle uses about two liters of water which is mixed with fossil fuels to create the plastic. For every ton of plastic that’s produced, three tons of CO2 is created.
is a glass, plastic or steel reusable water bottle better?
It depends on what you’re looking for. Here are the pros and cons to each material.
Stainless steel water bottles:
- The most durable.
- Typically the most expensive.
- They can also house hot liquids.
- Some dent easily
Glass water bottles:
- Can be infinitely recycled.
- Doesn’t alter the taste of what’s inside.
- Most fragile of the bunch.
- Often come with silicone sleeves to help with grip and protection.
Reusable plastic bottles:
- Durable, can take a beating.
- Often come with loop handles, making it easy to carry them around.
- Some even come with built-in filter systems.
For more context, I suggest reading my blog post Which is Better For The Environment? Glass or Plastic? The answer might surprise you – but it’s certainly not as simple as it seems.
are reusable bottles better than plastic?
Yes, reusable bottles are better than single use plastic bottles for multiple reasons.
Here are some perks to owning a reusable bottle:
- Saves you money
- Reduces single-use plastic consumption
- Can be refilled infinitely
- Designed to last
- Customize their appearance
- Helps support clean waterways
- Doesn’t support the fossil fuel industry
- No one will mistake your drink for theirs
I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there that might convince you drinking from tap is unsafe and bottled water is better. Truth is, it really depends on where you live, but as a general rule, the bottled water industry markets their products as safer than tap on purpose.
Speaking of misinformation marketed by the fossil fuel industry, check out this post Are Electric Cars Bad For The Environment?
how many people carry a reusable water bottle?
According to CivicScience, data shows 60% of U.S. adults carry a reusable water bottle. However, despite the number of people who say they own a reusable bottle, the overall percentage has gone down since CivicScience last checked in 2018.
There’s also this to consider: Just because you own a reusable water bottle, doesn’t necessarily mean you actually use it. It could be sitting in your cupboard gathering dust.
As a general tip to remembering your reusable bottle, here’s what I do. Before I leave the house, I repeat “keys, wallet, phone, water bottle” – which helps me remember to grab my reusable bottle on the way out.
how to wash your reusable water bottle?
You can use eco-friendly dish soap and a brush to clean out a reusable water bottle. The best kinds of brushes for the jobs are ones like this – it’s designed to be slender and reach in even narrow openings. You should wash them after each use ideally to make sure germs, mildew and mold don’t accumulate.
Some reusable water bottles can also be cleaned in the dishwasher – here are some eco-friendly dishwasher detergents I recommend. To make your life easier, I’ve marked which ones can be put in the dishwasher and which should be hand washed below.
reusables bottles that sell in bulk?
There are several reusable bottles that sell in bulk (aka wholesale), like S’well, Kleen Kanteen, Soma and BKR. You can typically have these fully customized for your needs. These are also great for corporate or business use.
what are the best reusable water bottles?
So glad you asked. I’ve took the liberty of rounding up the very best reusable water bottles on the market. I’ve organized them into categories based on their material: Stainless steel, glass and plastic.
Each of these bottles get the Going Zero Waste seal of approval. Several of these brands also help clean waterways and fund clean drinking water to communities in need.
I’ve gone ahead and highlighted some key features of each brand, but it isn’t an exhaustive list. Be sure to check out their websites for more information.
best reusable water bottles made from steel:
These reusable water bottles are made from steel which is infinitely recyclable and extremely durable. Steel water bottles can also be used to hold both cold and hot drinks.
- Triple layered vacuum-insulated, 18/8 stainless steel
- Hand wash only
- Condensation free exterior
- Certified B Corp
- partner of UNICEF, committing $1.4million since 2017 to provide clean and safe water
/ SHOP S’WELL /
2. one movement bottle
- Recycled stainless steel
- Each purchase removes 2000 plastic bottles from waterways
- Recycles the plastic bottles into eco bricks
- Eco bricks build recycled homes for homeless waste pickers
3. a good company
- Double-walled vacuum insulation, 304 stainless steel
- Dishwasher safe
- Comes in an organic cotton storage bag
- Every purchase plants trees in Africa to mitigate carbon emissions from production
best reusable water bottles made from glass:
Glass is infinitely recyclable, and it will never leech any toxins into your drink. A word of caution: Get a protective sleeve for your glass bottle if it doesn’t come with one.
- Borosilicate glass
- Hand wash only, do not remove silicone sleeve
- Certified B Corp
- Soft touch silicone handle
- Will replace broken bottle
- Every purchase helps fund water projects in developing countries
/ SHOP SOMA /
best reusable water bottles made from plastic:
Plastic is lightweight so it actually requires less fuel to transport than glass, which is heavier and can weigh down a vehicle. It’s also durable and will last a long time.
Which of these reusable water bottles would you try? Let me know in the comments below!