Water Bottle Warning
Is refilling plastic water bottles safe? Reusing plastic water bottles seems harmless and cheap. As a college student, I try to economize as much as possible. Buying a new water bottle instead of refilling an old one seems like a waste to me. However, you might be exposed to bacteria.
Germs from your saliva thrive in room-temperature water where they multiply at a shockingly fast rate. These germs can cause common colds, flu, or diarrhea, according to Charles Gerba (PhD and co-author of The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu). Just to be safe, he wouldn’t suggest drinking water from a plastic bottle after its been sitting out at room-temperature for more than 48 hours. According to the American Plastics Council , plastic water bottles are safe to be reused ONLY if they are sent through a dishwasher or properly cleaned with hot water and soap. Washing the bottle is a must in between uses. In addition, the Council suggests buying a new bottle after 5-10 washings. The plastic can start to breakdown and become less sturdy after going through the dishwasher too many times.
The Environmental Protection Agency stated Americans produce approximately 14.4 tons of plastic waste each year. On the up side, recycling programs are becoming increasingly popular in the US and about 30% of the plastic was recycled. The motto “reduce, reuse, recycle” sticks in my head from environmental awareness groups, such as the BMC Greens. In my opinion, reusing water bottles is alright, as long as you’re safe about it and clean them properly between uses. Be sure to recycle afterwards!