When Re-Using Isn’t the Answer

In an effort to cut down on waste, a common practice has been to re-use water bottles. While some people re-use the plastic bottles that are meant for one use, others invest in bulkier bottles made of stainless steel or glass for better quality. While re-using your water bottle rather than needing a few a day is better for the environment, is it really okay for your health?

The answer is yes and no. If you take the proper precautions to maintain your daily water bottle, you lessen the negative health effects tremendously. Many people have heard that it’s not recommended that you re-use a disposable plastic water bottle multiple times because of the way the plastic breaks down. Normal wear and tear on this material can cause the chemicals in the plastic to leak into your drinking water. In this situation, re-using the bottle is not the answer. However, if you have a bottle that is made for re-use, you must make sure you rinse it with soap and water daily. Even if you are simply using the bottle to carry water, everyday wear and tear can cause minuscule scratches and cracks where bacteria can grow. It sounds odd since it’s only water, but the dark and damp conditions produce the perfect spot for bacteria to multiply.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some bottles are dishwasher-safe and some are not. Some plastic re-usable bottles can be thrown in the dishwasher at the end of the day and all of your bacteria and chemical leaking worries are solved. Other bottles such as those meant for one-time use, cannot by any means be cleaned in a dishwasher. The high-temperature waters will only increase the chemical breakdown of the plastic, resulting in ingestion later on.

Your safest bet would be to use a stainless steel or glass bottle because you avoid all risk of leaking chemicals. However, with these materials, you are still required to rinse them daily for health reasons.

There are plenty of ways you can re-use the one-use water bottles that don’t put your health at risk. You can use a larger bottle as a watering can for your plants, or turn plastic bottle caps into a beautiful mosaic piece. Another way to put your old bottles on display is using them as light covers for string lights you can hang outside. Going this route will eliminate waste and keep you safe from bacteria and chemicals. The best decision would be to use stainless steel, glass, or another BPA free material as your reusable bottle. But if you can’t, make sure to rinse with soap and lukewarm water and let it dry before putting it to use!


Chan, Amanda L. “What You Need To Know Before You Reuse That Plastic Water Bottle.” The Huffington Post., 14 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 June 2017.

WikiHow. “How to Reuse Empty Water Bottles.” WikiHow. WikiHow, 27 June 2017. Web. 27 June 2017.

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