Best Alternatives to Plastic Water Bottles

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The best alternatives to plastic water bottles
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Our overuse of plastics has serious consequences both for our health and for our environment.

The Problem of Plastic Water Bottles…

What seems like a harmless plastic water bottle contains hormone disrupting chemicals like BPA and Phthalates. BPA has been shown to cause hormone imbalance in the body and has even been linked to various types of cancers, obesity, miscarriage, infertility and neurological disorders.

Phthalates have been banned in many parts of the world and are especially concerning for men and boys as they have been linked to lower testosterone and male infertility.

The Price of Convenience

As harmful as plastics are to us individually, we are all facing unwanted exposure from worldwide plastic pollution.

Sure, plastic water bottles are inexpensive, disposable and convenient, but they are also terrible for our ecosystem. In fact, many of the negative health effects attributed to the harmful components in plastic may come from our planet’s growing plastic burden.

Many tons of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean each year. The combination of UV light and the salt of the ocean cause these plastics to break down and release BPA, Phthalates, PCBs and DDT into the ocean water. These chemicals are absorbed by small marine life and eventually work their way up the food supply.

In fact, experts now claim that no ocean in the world is free from this plastic pollution and several have said that this is the most dire issue facing our ocean and our planet today. Plastic chemicals were even found under 30 feet of ice in the Antarctic, a place not even inhabited by humans and previously not thought to be contaminated by plastic waste.

Why is this such a problem?

Plastic consumption is still rising at a drastic rate…

Trillions of plastic bags are discarded each year and these bags can take up to a thousand years to degrade. During this time, they are releasing these hormone disrupting chemicals into the ocean, groundwater and soil.

Even now, there is an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in every square mile of the ocean.

At the rate that plastic is being used and discarded and the length of time that plastic takes to degrade, it seems logical that plastic overuse could become the biggest health and ecological problem of our time. That’s why I like to support brands like Got Bags who understand what we are up against and use plastic from the ocean to make bags and backpacks and other items.

Alternatives to Plastic Water Bottles

Water bottles are not the only source of plastic waste, but they are a major source of plastic exposure. Disposable water bottles can leach their hormone disrupting chemicals right into the water you drink from them. Heat or light exposure can speed up this process, as can the amount of time the water spends in the bottle.

We can all do a lot for our health and the environment by making two simple switches:

  1. Switching to reusable grocery bags, produce bags,  and plastic bags
  2. Using a reusable, non-plastic water bottle

There are so many great options for reusable water bottles now. I use mine daily for lemon water in the morning, smoothies and herbal tea throughout the day, and water.

Over the last several years, I’ve tried quite a few different plastic-free reusable water bottles and these are my favorites (in order of how much I love them):

1. Hydro Flask

Hydro flask is my favorite reusable water bottle by far. It is not only stainless steel and BPA free, but it is also vacuum sealed and insulated so it is incredible at regulating temperature. I was shocked that it could keep my ice water cold for 24 hours (with ice still floating in it!) and coffee or tea hot for 12 hours.

I have both a wide mouth water bottle and a smaller bottle for hot drinks and I use them both all the time. The only downside? Due to the vacuum sealed insulated layer, these can’t be put in the dishwasher.

2. Lifefactory Glass Bottle

This lifefactory glass bottle is another favorite, but it doesn’t insulate as well as the Hydro Flask and some others. It is dishwasher safe, which is a big plus. I don’t trust the glass as much when I’m with my children, but if I’m on my own, I love this bottle and it doesn’t leak.

3. Klean Kanteen

The original reusable water bottle that I tried and liked enough to get one for everyone on my Christmas list that year. I still love my basic steel Klean Kanteen, though it is not insulated and does not keep drinks hot or cold. Also, if you pour really hot drinks in it, prepare to burn your hand. The upside? You can boil water in it while camping and it can turn iced tea into hot tea if left in the car on a warm day (experience talking).

I still love my Klean, and they are a budget friendly reusable option.

4. Cayman Insulated Water Bottle

The Cayman only comes in one size that I’ve found (about 17 ounces) which makes it a little small for what I prefer in a water bottle. Like the Hydro Flask, it keeps liquids hot or cold for at least 12 hours. It does fit in regular cup holders, which makes it great for taking in the car or on the side of my backpack while traveling and I often prefer this one if I’m on the road.

If you haven’t already, please consider making the switch to one of these alternatives to plastic water bottles (and replace your plastic bags while you are at it!). The convenience of plastic isn’t worth the consequences for our health or the environment.

What kind of water bottle do you use?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


73 responses to “Best Alternatives to Plastic Water Bottles”

  1. Amber Avatar

    Where should I get the water to put in my glass bottle? Is tap water safe? Is a water filter jug made of plastic okay to use?

  2. Rachel Avatar

    I use my Go Berkey to filter my water when at home or staying somewhere for at least 3 weeks (I hate packing up the filter when it’s wet because it drastically messes with the performance), then store it in glass and steel jars/bottles/jugs in the fridge, and drink out of the glass bottles from kombucha. When I travel or will be out where I might run out of purified water, I use my Berkey bottle – maybe not technically 100% plastic-free, but hardly any more plastic exposure post-filter than the bigger Berkeys, so to me it’s worth it; it even filtered murky mossy horse trough water into clear clean water (with a strong mossy taste, but still perfectly safe to drink). The only time I drink out of something plastic anymore is my camelbak – I only use it once a week, and I use purified water and put the water in it not too long before I use it. I wish I could find something else that wasn’t plastic, but that’s the one thing I haven’t been able to find a non-plastic equivalent for because due to the shape of its holder, I need the reservoir to be soft and flexible (also, something hard would be extremely painful banging against my back when riding horses, which is what I use it for) – if they come out with a naturally anti-mildew/ant-mold medical grade silicon and stainless steel reservoir, I’ll be first in line.

  3. Sarah Avatar

    Hi, Do you have any suggestions for a water dispenser? I previously had a water pump that I placed on top of my 5 gallon water bottle. It just stopped working so I’m looking for the best way to dispense our water. We fill our 5 gallon water jugs at the water store.

  4. anna Avatar

    What about the big water jugs…the 3 and 5 gallon ones? For years I used Enviro Bottle, but recently I learned that they release toxins into the water. Glass water jugs are heavy and I’m alway really nervous about breaking them. I don’t have and can’t afford a water filtration in my house, so I’m not sure what to do about this. Any suggestions?

  5. Berry Avatar

    I live in Spain outside the urbanized area and consequently my main water supply is by well. A check a few years ago showed that it is full of bugs so I had to obtain my drinking water in 5 or 8 litre plastic bottles. This went on for a few years until the local water board installed a tap at the top of my road. I’m a 2 litre a day man plus tea/coffee and find the taste most acceptable. I fill any empty bottles I have in my car, as I’m passing , usually returning from shopping. I read in some of the above comments reference to relatively small containers and gave a small smirk. How much do these people drink? 3 Egg cup fulls a day? Mine comes in pint glasses with meals. I see no alternatives to the 5 litre plastic bottles which I purchase for a few cents when one of mine has a broken handle and has to be recycled. So, instead of the “designer” bottles described, have you a real alternative to the bottles I consume?

  6. Nicki Avatar

    Help! I want to be rid of plastic, but have to use a clear water bottle that isn’t glass at my work. Any suggestions?

  7. Carol Shelton Avatar
    Carol Shelton

    I buy Syflo seltzer water and after drinking the seltzer, save the glass bottle to refill from my Berky water filter. They are 10 ounces.

  8. Mimi Avatar

    If you’re traveling on vacation, what do you recommend to bring/have to get filtered water to fill up your reusable water bottles? For example if going to Disney how can you get filtered water for your reusable bottles for a whole week staying at a resort? Thanks!

  9. Kim Avatar

    I just bought a berkey and lifefactory glass bottle. There was a metallic taste and then a few minutes later my mouth is numb, heavy feeling in my arms, headache, and my movement disorder reared its head. A mix of chemical/food sensitivity and stress reaction. Anyone had similar to berkey water or the lifefactory bottle? I tried other water that i did not react to in the bottle and had a reaction. Will try berkey water in another container tonight.

  10. Savannah Avatar

    we currently only drink BPA free water bottles that one of our grocery stores sell or Fiji water, but I’m wanting to get away from buying plastic water bottles. What type of water do you use for your drinking source? Thanks! I always enjoy your posts!

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