If you are looking to reduce your single use plastic consumption, the easiest way is to switch to a reusable beverage container. There are reusable plastic and reusable stainless-steel water bottles out there. However, we have mainly tried stainless steel bottles throughout the years, so we have compiled a list of our favorite ones to help narrow down your search. But first lets talk a little about how plastic bottles became the norm.
A significant change began when DuPont's engineer Nathaniel C. Wyeth patented polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in 1973. These plastic bottles were a cheaper alternative to glass and were also able to withstand the pressure of carbonated liquids. Sadly this diminished an era where glass bottles could be reused time and time again. Switching to the cheaper and lighter alternative (PET) bottles made more sense to many companies at the time. "In the past, thick glass reusables were returned to the store by the consumer for a deposit, trucked back to the bottling plant, washed and refilled." The Brooklyn Rail wrote a very informative article titled "A Brief History of Plastic." Its a great read if you are interested more on the history of plastic. Nowadays there are very few companies like Straus Family Creamery and Broguiere's Farm fresh Dairy that still offer a deposit back to the consumer when the glass bottle is returned to the store.
Due to the enormous amount of single use plastic bottles many are opting for a less wasteful alternative. To help guide you among the plethora of reusable bottles available, below are some of the options our family has tried and what we think about these particular brands.
Adult size - MIRA bottles (Larger sizes available from 32-40 oz)
My husband ordered 2 MIRA stainless steel bottles (32 oz and 40 oz) on Amazon and has loved them so far. He drinks a ton of water so the 40 ounce bottle made sense for him so he is not constantly refilling. We also like to drink cold water so the wide mouth make is very easy to fill with ice. I however have a small mouth so I'm not a huge fan of the wide mouth. It's great in the summer when stainless steel bottles can get hot in the car. The vacuum insulated double-walled bottle helps keep liquids hot or cold for a long time making it great work or long trips. These are made with high quality 18/8 medical grade stainless steel and the paint is powder coated so it does not chip. They do also give back to organizations but does not post how much and only list one organization which is the Community Water Center in California.
What’s to love:
Vacuum insulated Double wall (cold for 24hrs, hot for 12 hrs)
Made with high quality 18/8 medical grade stainless steel
Will not sweat and will not chip (powder coated)
Caps are BPA free and phthalate free
It can get heavy when full
We have two MiiR single wall bottles as these were the first ones we tried. They are slim and not as large as the MIRA so the bottle can fit in a medium size purse or a diaper bag. The bottles we have are not double walled so beverages do not stay cold or hot as long and sweat. These are a little pricier than the MIRA depending on the size.
What's to love:
Company gives 3% of profits to non-profit organizations
Made with high quality 18/8 Medical grade
Pricey - you can get similar bottles cheaper
Bottle will sweat (might have improved)
The paint scratches off (might have improved)
Baby, Toddler and Kid size – Pura Kiki
I was thrilled to have found a 100% plastic free water bottle for on the go. The Pura comes in nipple, sippy or straw options with sizes ranging from 5 oz, 9 oz, 11 oz, which are perfect for babies and toddlers. They also offer big kid/teen sizes 16 oz, 18 oz and even adult sizes 22 oz and 28 oz. We didn't find it until my son was around a year old so we went with the sippy spout and straw option (see photo below). It kept slipping from my little guys hands so later we bought the silicone sleeve which I believe now comes with every bottle but don't quote me on that. It also came with a silicone travel cover which we lost several times, (and later found) so I purchased 2 more since I figured we would lose them at some point. We really love this bottle/brand so I didn't mind buying the additional accessories as I strongly believe in this product. Several people have commented or asked when we would be out running errands or at play-dates. I don't think many people search for plastic free alternatives so I really loved to share this option with other fellow parents. It is very durable and well built. The only negative thing is make sure you wash the silicone spout regularly and air dry. Don't forget it in a bag for a week or longer as the silicone spout can mold. Speaking from experience! If this happens simply washed in soapy warm water and soak in white vinegar for a few hours and it should be fine. We wash all our water bottles once to twice a week in warm soapy water anyhow, but don't regularly let them air dry since we use them daily.
Whats to love:
Easy to clean
100% plastic free (hard to find)
Lots of accessories and replacement parts
The silicone cap gets dirty easily
Sipper spout can mold if you don’t wash or let it air dry.
The best part ... Lost a piece? No problem! Pura Kiki makes it so easy to replace a cap, straw, sipper spout or sports cap. They sell a variety of add-ons like a silicone sleeve, sports cap or silicone sports straw. I can't stress enough how much we have loved this brand.
Another brand we tried with our older son but he lost at school (Argg) is Thermo Flask. These bottles are not cheap so probably not the best bottle to send to school. Lesson learned! These come in a straw option (which is plastic) and for those kids that like to gnaw on things it can get messed up very quickly but it does come with a lifetime warranty. There may also be a screw top that fits this bottle
What's to love:
Keeps drinks cold for 24 hours
BPA - Free and phthalate-free; 18/8 food-grade stainless steel
Comes in a variety of colors
The straw can easily be chewed up
Can leak if using straw version
Expensive (especially if lost)
Looking for a bottle for coffee or tea?
My hubby uses the S'well brand for coffee since it was given to him as a gift. It keep his coffee hot for longer than 12 hours and has kept up pretty well despite a few dents which is common with stainless steel bottles that are used daily.
What's to love:
Comes in a variety of colors and designs
Triple wall construction (hot for 12 hours and cold for 24 hours)
Made with 18/8 stainless steel and is BPA free
Hard to put ice in (but not impossible)
We did read that it comes in a plastic bag
S'well 17oz insulated bottle
We hope that this article gives you a good amount of choices and information to help make your final decision.
DISCLAIMER: No, we are not endorsed by any company this article mentions. We will however receive a kick back from any purchase off the links that have been provided (for quick reference) but no one paid us to use or give opinion on these products. Its all from our personal experience and from the heart.
Nathaniel Wyeth (inventor) "n.d." In Wikipedia. Retrieved 11/12/2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Nathaniel_Wyeth_(inventor).
Rogers, Heather. "A Brief History of Plastic." The Brooklyn Rail May 2005
Photos: Amazon.com and Canva.com, Maeder, Mali. Becker, George from Pexels.