The Lesser Evil


Attempting to stay hydrated is hard enough work, the current controversy over plastic bottles makes it even harder. A number of years ago, a friend who after taking a seminar on plastics for food packaging, told me that I should not reuse my embattled Aquafina water bottle. She said that the only bottles suitable for reuse is the hard plastic Nalgene bottles, since packaged water bottles will degrade and leach chemicals into the water over time. Sold, much to the delight of all of my friends who mocked me for hanging on to the same bottle as a part of my cheap and lazy ways. Even though the single use bottles of portable water is meant to be recycled, I never felt good about pitching the bottle after emptying it once. It’s still wasteful, especially in the big picture with how much fossil fuel it takes to manufacture, ship, and recycle bottles of water. Washing and refilling is so much more practical and environmentally sound.

Now there is concern over the possible toxicity of Nalgene bottles as expressed in Alina Tugend’s article in Saturday’s New York Times. The hard plastic that Nalgene is made of can leach bisphenal A, which has proven harmful to the endocrine systems of developing fetuses and young children. I may not be or have not one of these, but I sure don’t want that crap in me. Aren’t I supposed to be drinking water for my health? The weekend prior in the Times, there was also an article about how sporting goods stores in Canada have pulled Nalgene bottles from their shelves, until more conclusive studies later this year.

So what are the alternatives? Glass is too heavy and too fragile to carry around. Stainless steel? As long as it isn’t lined with plastic, and I swear that water tastes funny in a stainless steel vessel. And what about my Brita pitcher, where I filter out the bad stuff for my better being? I don’t even know what kind of plastic it’s made from. For now, I hesitantly still drink from my Nalgene bottle, and anxiously seek something else.

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