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From Plastic to Bamboo: Which Water Bottle Material is Best For You?

The right water bottle for you

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay  


So you want to buy a reusable water bottle.

And not just any reusable water bottle, but the RIGHT one. That’s fair. You deserve only the best. That way you don’t end up regretting your decision as soon as that bottle lands in your hands.

And while our own Karunaki tumblers offer an elegant and efficient way to hold your favorite drink (at the same temperature for hours, no less); we believe it’s important for you to decide what you want. More importantly, you should be equipped with the know-how to make that decision, by answering the question, “which material should I choose?”

Because at the end of the day, with all the different types of reusable containers on the market, it all really comes down to three elements: design, functionality, and material. While the other two you can pretty easily decide on your own based on your own unique needs, the third is a little trickier, as not all materials were created equal, nor were they created perfect.

So without further ado, we’re going to help you make that decision by sharing with you a comprehensive guide to all the main materials available to you, so you can (hopefully) find The One.



Silicone water bottles hiking

Image by tookapic from Pixabay 

Water bottles made of silicone are new on the market and are especially coveted for one key feature: they’re flexible. They can be folded up or rolled when they’re empty so they can take up less space when stored away. They’re also pretty light and resistant to high temperatures, as the material is a slow conductor of heat, making these a favorite among hikers and backpackers.

And as with most other materials, they contain no harmful chemicals, making them perfectly safe to drink from.

Unfortunately, the one thing holding these types of bottles back is, ironically, inconvenience. Collapsible silicone water bottles can be tough to clean and dry due to their structure, making maintenance a rather time-consuming task. For the same reason, they’re also a little bit harder to drink from, though many brands combat this flaw by providing their bottles with a tube or straw attached to the lid.



Aluminum bottles

Image by zfredrik from Pixabay 

Ah, aluminum. The lighter and more fabulous cousins of stainless steel. While they do dent more easily than their steel counterparts, these water bottles are definitely a solid choice for their design and pricing. In terms of value, they sit in a comfortable middle position above plastic and below stainless steel, making them suitable for most people’s budget.

However, since aluminum can contaminate certain acidic liquids, it needs to be lined with material, usually an enamel, resin, polymer or epoxy. There is an ongoing debate over whether or not these linings contain toxic chemicals like BPA, so proceed with caution when deciding to purchase an aluminum water bottle.



Reusable glass bottles

Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

If taste is a major factor in your decision, definitely go for glass.

Glass has long been known to contain the purest-tasting water. If you don’t mind reusing bought bottles, they’re also the cheapest to get your hands on. Just wash that empty bottle of juice or liquor and you’re good to go. You can pop it into your dishwasher for safe and easy routine cleaning, as long as you place it properly. Many companies also sell customizable silicone sleeves to add a protective layer should you be concerned about accidental breakage. And last but not least, they also don’t contain BPA.

Now for the cons. While glass can be cheap if you’re reusing store-bought containers, if you want to buy proper glass water bottles, they can be some of the most expensive. On top of that, they’re also dangerous for children, and you. Unsurprisingly, it’s the most fragile material here and you don’t need us to tell you how painful broken shards can be. It’s for this reason that many public recreational areas like parks, beaches and camp sites prohibit people from bringing glass bottles. If you frequent such places, it’s best to keep away from the material.



Plastic water bottles

Image by PDPics from Pixabay 

Plastic has become such a negative word in the sustainable living community, and for good reason. Despite being pretty lightweight, inexpensive and accessible thanks in large part to their widespread use, the material is notorious for containing BPA. Fortunately for you, many manufacturers nowadays use BPA-free plastic, and as long as you’re reusing it, it’s not harming the environment.

But still, even BPA-free plastic can be dangerous for you. Nevermind that safety tests for BPA-free plastic bottles are largely inconsistent, common substitutes for BPA like Bisphenol-S (BPS) have been known to have negative side-effects on human metabolism, even in tiny amounts.

And when you have to say goodbye to that plastic bottle, remember that it may not be possible to recycle it, meaning it’ll only add to the growing pile of plastic waste sitting in our landfills.


Stainless Steel

The next item on this list is stainless steel. Made of food-grade stainless steel these bottles are largely preferred for their robustness. They’re sturdy, long-lasting and high quality ones are good for maintaining internal temperatures, even when heated up. Stainless steel bottles are completely safe, as the metal doesn’t leach and don’t contain any harmful chemicals whatsoever.

When buying a stainless steel bottle, make sure that they’re not lined with plastic on the inside. Even though they’re cheaper, they defeat the purpose of getting stainless steel bottles in the first place since they pose the same risks as regular plastic bottles. Another thing to consider is allergies. If you’re allergic to nickel, be aware that stainless steel does contain traces of it.

Considering getting a stainless steel bottle? Sneak a peek at Karunaki's own ILIVEECO tumblers! They’re practical, easy on the eyes, and made with bamboo wood, which brings us to the final material on this list…


Bamboo Wood

Bamboo wood is another new kid on the scene, with its innovative origins traced back from Assam, India. According to the article, bottles made from this material are completely leak-free and are completely organic, thanks to being made completely out of bamboo. This means that even if you lose your bottle, or you need to dispose of it, it will biodegrade and you won’t have to worry about contamination, recycling or any of that business. It’s completely natural.

In fact, bamboo only takes about one year to decompose, as opposed to typical plastic, which can take up to 50 years minimum.

So far we’ve found no real cons to bamboo bottles. While they can retain an odor and can be difficult to wash (depending on how the bottle’s designed) these are relatively minor when compared to the dangers of BPA and glass shards, wouldn’t you agree?


Has this article helped you on your quest to finding the perfect bottle? We hope it did!

If you enjoyed it, subscribe to our community, and get alerts on new content to help you live your best sustainable life! You’ll also get a 10% discount code for signing up. Why not use it on that new bottle you’re thinking of buying?


With love and compassion,

Team Karunaki