Reusable bottles: are they safe for health?
In recent times, the use of reusable water bottles has become massively widespread. This has been a great convenience for users, but also a major environmental problem. The need to reduce waste has been one of the triggers that has driven its standardization, but are all reusable bottles safe for health? Next we will analyze some of the details.
The use of plastic in containers and bottles began to become widespread in the 1960s, although after the First World War the transformation of oil into plastic began to play a relevant role. Plastics, at that time, served as substitutes for wood, glass or metal, and after World War II gave way to the widespread use of other more innovative materials such as polyurethane, polyester, and polycarbonate, among others. Plastic was here to stay, a material available to everyone due to its low cost and which became the symbol of a new consumer society.
Types of plastics used in containers and bottles
The plastic materials used for containers and bottles are divided into two large groups. On the one hand, the so-called thermoplastics , which are those that become deformable and even melt when heated. In this group we would have polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), expanded polystyrene (EPS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
On the other hand, there are thermosetting plastics , which once molded and solidified, do not deform or melt with temperature. Polyurethanes, epoxy, phenolic and amide resins (used with fiberglass and carbon), are part of this group.
In the case of water bottles , the vast majority are made of PET, a type of plastic made up of 64% oil, 23% liquid derivatives of natural gas and 13% air. It is a recyclable plastic, but for single use, since doctors recommend not reusing them, since the micro-flaws that this type of packaging presents inside are the perfect place to harbor bacteria and microorganisms harmful to health , so that is where the risk of repeated use lies.
In addition, all plastic bottles and some bottles used in domestic water dispensers are made with variable percentages of recycled plastic, which can also have significant health problems (this topic will be discussed in a future post).
On the other hand, despite the fact that part of the bottles are recycled, a very high percentage tends to end up in landfills, so this option, in addition, supposes an obvious damage to the ecosystem.
Identify types of plastic
To be clear about when we can reuse our water bottles , we must look at the symbols that appear on each of them.
- PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate): This plastic is commonly used in containers and bottles of water, soda and oil, among others. It should not be reused and it does not have great chemical resistance, so it can release some toxic substances when it has been recycled several times. It is 100% recyclable, and can be used to form part of new packaging or even for the production of fleece linings.
- HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): Bottles marked with this symbol are the safest, as they hardly release substances. They are very chemically resistant and that is why they are normally used in milk, juices, yoghurt, water and garbage and supermarket bags.
- V or PVC (Vinyl or Polyvinyl Chloride): Also very resistant, although it is not often recycled. It releases toxins throughout its life cycle, especially two chemicals that affect our body’s hormones. Its combustion is dangerous, as well as contact with food.
- LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene): It is a type of plastic that does not release any chemicals into the water, one of the safest that exists, so there is no danger in its reuse.
- PP (Polypropylene): Like the containers marked with HDPE, they are for reuse. Its high melting point allows containers capable of containing hot liquids and foods and allows it to be cleaned in the dishwasher.
- PS (Polystyrene): One of the most dangerous for health because it contains carcinogenic substances. It is used in disposable plates and cups, egg cups, meat trays, pharmaceutical containers, CD cases, etc. In addition, it is a very difficult material to recycle.
- Others: With this number 7 we identify a great diversity of plastics that are very difficult to recycle. With these materials, some kinds of water bottles, bulletproof materials, DVDs, sunglasses, etc. are made.
And what about Bisphenol A?
BPA or Bisphenol A is a chemical substance that is mainly used in combination with other substances to make plastics and resins. It is present in countless everyday items, such as those made from polycarbonate (PC) plastics, a high-performance rigid and transparent plastic. The use of this material is common in food containers, such as reusable water bottles , tableware and storage containers. The main problem with BPA is that it can migrate in small amounts to foods and beverages stored in materials that contain the substance, thus becoming an element that is harmful to our health .
To drink, the glass is better
The safest and safest material is , without a doubt, glass, so we should make sure to use it preferably when drinking water . It is recyclable and easy to clean. Using reusable glass bottles we are sure that we will not be exposed to any type of risk to our health and, in addition, the organoleptic properties of the water will always remain intact.
The quality of the water from the Rain of Life equipment is superior to most of the bottled waters on the market. In addition, it does not contain chlorine or is packaged, making it ideal for health.