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Is it safe to reuse plastic water bottles?

sustainability-water-bottles-safe-to-use
Is it safe to reuse plastic water bottles? We’ll share 9 reusable water bottles and info on plastic in bottled water, so find out more in this article.

Did you know, refilling an empty plastic bottle with water isn’t unsafe?

Although there have been many concerns that PET plastic bottles release harmful chemicals into the water, studies have found little evidence for this claim.

The main areas of concern relate to bacteria growing in damp bottles or cracked plastic, so it is recommended to clean and dry between uses.

Even so, switching to a reusable water bottle or shaker can give you a bottle that’s more convenient, better for the environment, and has handy features like secret compartments for carrying snacks and protein supplements.

Here’s everything you need to know, plus 9 of our favourite alternatives to reusing plastic water bottles.

Is it OK to reuse water bottles?

Contrary to popular belief, drinking bottled water isn’t as bad as you may have been led to believe.

Concerns around disposable water bottles usually come from that fact that they are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which people believed would gradually release chemicals into your bottle of water.

However, there is no evidence that the reuse of plastic water bottles increases your risk of drinking chemicals from PET plastic.

Why is it bad to reuse water bottles?

Refilling plastic bottles is often believed to be bad because of a substance known as “antimony,” a metal used during plastic manufacturing that may be carcinogenic.

The concern is that this antimony will begin to leak into your water when reusing plastic bottles over time.

Fortunately, this may not be the case! A 2021 review of studies discovered that when storing bottled water in PET bottles for three years at room temperature, the amount of the chemical in the water was only 1% of the tolerable daily intake1.

Can reusing water bottles make you sick?

Drinking from plastic bottles should not make you sick, as long as you regularly wash between uses. Bacteria loves damp places, so leaving a damp bottle in a warm area for a period of time can cause bacteria to grow.

Bacteria may come from your hands or mouth, especially around the lid and mouth of the bottle.

It’s often time for a deep clean or a new bottle if you find yourself thinking, “why does my water bottle smell?”

Over time, reuse of plastic bottles may also lead to small cracks in the plastic that can be hard to spot. Bacteria can form in these cracks and may become difficult to keep clean.

How long can you reuse an old water bottle?

In theory, you can reuse an old water bottle for as long as you want, as long as water bottle cleanliness is something you’re keeping on top of. If you don’t notice any cracks in the plastic and are keeping it clean, there’s no danger in reusing plastic water bottles.

Summary

  • PET plastic bottle reuse has not been linked to any negative side effects.
  • There is no evidence that plastic water bottles release harmful amount of chemicals into your drinking water.
  • When reusing plastic water bottles, you should clean bottles between uses to avoid bacteria.
  • There is no evidence that you can’t keep reusing a plastic water bottle indefinitely, as long as no cracks appear in the plastic and you’re keeping it clean.

Alternatives to reusing plastic water bottles

What are the best reusable water bottles for 2021?

Plastic water bottles may be convenient, but if you want to encourage getting your daily water intake or need a bottle that’s so much more than bottled water storage - we’re looking at you, protein shake lovers - investing in a reusable water bottle might be the right move for you.

9 alternatives to reusing plastic water bottles

Read on to find out more about alternatives to plastic water bottles

  1. Refillable water bottle for the gym

An ideal gym accessory, our reliable plastic USN shakers (700ml) feature a screw cap and a plastic mesh insert which dilutes your USN powder with ease. 

It’s ideal to take to the gym, work, or wherever you need it.

Key benefits

  • Perfect gym accessory.
  • Features a screw cap & a plastic mesh insert.
  • Dilutes powder with ease & with no lumps.

Customer reviews

Ianr007 – Well made and easy to use – 5/5 stars

“Well made and easy to use; happy with this purchase”

Anjyzf – Nice one – 4/5 stars

“Mixes the shake very well, handy, nice firm fitting lid. Value for money. Cleans easily, fits in cup holders when travelling!!”

  1. Best reusable plastic bottle for thick protein shakes

The Precision Engineered Sportmixer shaker cup is designed with equal parts style, innovation, and versatility, with the Precision Engineered BlenderBottle® SportMixer® technology redefining what it means to be a water bottle.

Say 'goodbye' to lumpy protein shakes and 'hello' to smooth, great-tasting drinks with the patented BlenderBall® wire whisk—found only in BlenderBottle® brand shaker cups—to mix even the thickest ingredients as you shake.

Made from only the highest-quality materials, BlenderBottle® brand shaker cups are BPA and Phthalate free, created from durable Eastman Tritan™ plastic.

The SportMixer lets you enjoy today's smoothie without tasting last week's protein shake.

Key benefits

  • Precision Engineered Sportmixer Shaker Cup is useful for mixing the thickest ingredients as you shake.
  • Made from high quality materials.
  • BPA-free bottled water and shakes.
  • Phthalate free.

Customer reviews

andypep – 3 years, 2 shakes a day, no leaks – 5/5 stars

“I fill the bottle half full then add the gainer then milk on top and depending on which protein I'm using, mixes in a couple of minutes except when using pure protein not weight gain which needs to be left for 5 minutes shaking every so often. Totally airtight so just lob it in my bag and drink in the car not worrying about spilling milk on the seats and the 6-months of milk-stink after.”

SanF – Great bottle – 5/5 stars

“Seems quite strong. The opening that you drink out of seals tightly-so no spills. It has the metal mixer ball inside, which is fantastic for mixing shakes.”

  1. Stainless steel alternative to refillable plastic bottles

Trying to cut down on your use of plastic bottles? Here’s a new type of reusable water bottle you’ll love: stainless steel!

No one likes those gross clumps of protein in their shakes, and that's why the Free Soul Steel Shaker has a built-in grill to make sure you always get a smooth shake.

With a leakproof silicon sealed lid, you can throw your favourite gym top in your bag alongside your shaker knowing that it'll be safe from any spills or leaks.

Prefer it in pink? This one’s for you. Think you’d prefer grey? Try this one. 

Key benefits

  • Free Soul's Stainless Steel Shaker, with an in-built grill, is the perfect shaker for smooth, lump-free shakes.
  • Keeps your shakes chilled, and naturally BPA free.
  • If you think reusable plastic water bottles have that "plastic taste," this is the one for you.


Customer reviews

Lauren Jamie – Good alternative to a plastic shaker – 4/5 stars

“Does what it says. Good shaker that keeps your drinks cool or hot. Randomly seems to leak when I shake with warm milk though. Otherwise fine.”

Maddy – Doesn’t keep it cool – 1/5 stars

“I expected this to keep the shake cool. If anything it's worse than a normal shaker at keeping it cool because the metal is so thin.”

  1. So much more than a plastic water container

Using the same technology as the Sportmixer Shaker Cup above, the MET-Rx BlenderBottle SportMixer can do it all.

Smooth protein shakes using the patented BlenderBall® wire whisk, durable Eastman Tritan™ plastic, and bottled water that’s BPA free.

The ProStak’s unique interlocking jars have individual lids, making it possible to carry supplements, snacks, and more—with or without the bottle.

With a quarter turn, the Twist n’ Lock™ jars can be quickly attached or detached from the bottle.

The covert pill tray locks into any jar lid, allowing you to carry pills and powders in the same jar.

Key benefits

  • BPA and Phthalate free.
  • Durable plastic.
  • The ability to carry extra supplements and snacks.

Customer reviews

Bobert – Fantastic – 5/5 stars

“Fantastic product with powder holder and spare compartment for anything else you need to carry. Will be great for the gym when they reopen.”

Sven Karlson – Excellent Shaker – 5/5 stars

“Fantastic product! After a while waiting for delivery, once arrived the shaker is brilliant in every way. Its got loads of extra storage compartments, ideal for separating products from liquids until ready to mix. Firm top closure, and doesn't retain tastes or smells. Also, excellent value.”

  1. Eye-catching water bottle

Worried about BPA in water bottles? Worry no more.

Traveller Shaker is made from non-toxic plastic, free from bisphenol A (BPA) and Di-ethylhexyl phthalate, substances which are believed to be cancerous and pathogenic.

The product is made of non-toxic plastic.

Traveller Shaker can be stored in a refrigerator, cleaned in washing machines, and used in microwave ovens without the risk of damaging it.

It’s also available in white, and comes with an additional container, giving you space to fit all your favourite supplements and powders.

Key benefits

  • Advanced anti-leak technology makes the cap and lid safe for hot and cold drinks.
  • Additional container for supplements.
  • Revolutionary concave hexagon strainer eliminating powder lumps giving your drinks a perfect viscosity.
  • Non-toxic plastic, BPA- and DEHP-free.
  • Safe for freezer, dishwasher, microwave oven and hot liquid, up to 120 °C.
  • Made of non-toxic plastic.

Customer reviews: None yet – new to Holland & Barrett!

  1. Reusable bottle with space for snacks & supplements

This bottle really can give you everything you’d want from a reusable water bottle!

Featuring the BlenderBall® wire whisk for smooth shakes, no matter the ingredients, and unique Twist n’ Lock™ containers, the Precision Engineered BlenderBottle® ProStak® is the all-in-one solution for the serious athlete.

Plus, integrated with the StayOpen™ flip cap, the adjustable carry loop lets you hold more when your hands are full and offers a convenient place to attach keys while at the gym. Perfect!

Key benefits

  • Mixes even the thickest ingredients.
  • Convenient carry loop attachment.
  • Compartments for snacks and protein supplements.
  • BPA and Phthalate free.

Customer reviews

R Lucas – Great product! – 5/5 stars

“Great product, compartments for the powder/tablets works really well! Cleans easily, and the mixing ball is really handy.”

Carla – Smooth shakes and leakproof – 5/5 stars

“It’s great does what I had hoped for and the wire balls really works to makes sure the shakes are nice and smooths, I am disabled so I don’t have a lot of strength and I can managed to shake it so that my shakes are nice and smooth and it doesn’t leak either. Highly recommend.”

  1. Women’s best bottle for drinking water & shakes

If you don’t want lumps in your shakes, you need the right equipment: our handy Women’s Best Shaker. It’s super practical, holds up to 600ml, and has a convenient size that’ll fit perfectly in every bag and lies comfortably in your hand.

The built-in strainer system in the shaker’s lid ensures maximum hygiene and the ideal preparation of your beverage. On the back of the bottle, you can find a millilitre and ounce scale, so you don’t need any additional measuring cups to mix your shakes.

Not only is our shaker free from BPA & DEHP, but also dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.

Key benefits

  • Free from BPA & DEHP.
  • Dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe.
  • Comes with a built-in strainer system and millilitre scale.

Customer reviews

Adena – Happy with it – 5/5 stars

“I love it, good quality, the lid is easy to open and it’s stylish.”

Aishanoir – Easy to wash and good quality – 5/5 stars

“Great quality and lightweight it looks nice too for a women lol”

  1. Reusable water bottle with storage for protein powder

The SmartShake Slim Gunsmoke Shaker Cup is a high-quality 500ml shaker cup with three compartments to store pills and powders. It is made from BPA-free plastic and is 100% leak-proof.

You can use it every day, store it in the freezer, heat its contents in the microwave, and wash up in the dishwasher afterwards. It’s designed for real life.

SmartShake Slim Shaker Cup’s unique design is compact, yet light. And thanks to its snap-on strainer, there are no loose parts.

You can also buy this bottle in Neon Blue and Neon Pink!

Key benefits

  • High-quality shaker.
  • Great for everyday use.
  • Unique, light, and compact design.

Customer reviews

Sophiexrose – Great – 5/5 stars

“Ordered this for my boyfriend. He loves it and it makes it really smooth and no lumps! Do Recommend!”

Faizahc – Highly recommend – 5/5 stars

“Great and sturdy for everyday use and shakes on the go.”

  1. The most eco-friendly bottle on the market!

Our SmartShake EcoBottle is made from Sugar Cane Biomass waste in a 100% renewable energy-fuelled factory. Not many bottles can say that, can they?

This easily recycled water bottle helps you to decrease your impact and increase your style, available in a range of great colours:

Key benefits

  • Made from sugar cane biomass.
  • Made in a factory using renewable energy.

Customer reviews: None yet – new to Holland & Barrett!

3 benefits of switching to a reusable water bottle

The 3 benefits of switching to a reusable water bottle are...

  1. Economical alternative

With a range of bottles made from recycled materials, switching to a reusable water bottle helps you to reduce your impact on the world around you.

  1. No more chemical concerns

By switching to bottles made of durable plastic, stainless steel, glass, or any other material that isn’t PET plastic, you can feel safe in the knowledge that the only things going into your drinking water are natural flavourings and protein powders.

  1. Motivates you to drink more water

Drinking enough water throughout the day is great for your body and anything that helps motivate you can only be a good thing. Nothing says, “let’s drink more water” quite like a new water bottle.

How do I keep my reusable water bottle clean?

1

Clean between uses

Reusable water bottles should be cleaned and dried between uses.

Fortunately, reusable water bottles like those in our list are often easier to clean, can be washed by hand with hot water and soap, and some are even dishwasher safe.

How to sanitise your water bottle

1

Mix 1 teaspoon of bleach and 1 teaspoon of baking soda with approx. 1 litre of water.

2

Put this mixture into your bottle and allow it to sit overnight.

3

Thoroughly rinse the bottle and let it completely dry.

4

Refill your water bottle and you’re ready to go!

Summary

  • Switching to a reusable water bottle is better for the world, better for your peace of mind, and motivates you to drink more water.
  • Cleaning your bottle between uses will help to keep it bacteria free.
  • If you start to notice any sort of smell or bacteria, sanitise your bottle with bleach, baking soda, and water.

Is it safe to reuse plastic water bottles? Summary

As it turns out, it is safe to reuse plastic water bottles if you keep them clean and don’t notice any cracks in the plastic.

However, when you have so many better alternatives that give you BPA-free water bottles with a variety of other uses, styles, and colours, why wouldn’t you switch to something new?

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Last updated: 1 March 2022

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