Many people think they’re doing the environment a favor by reusing old soda bottles as containers for drinking water. In a way, they are, since this means fewer bottles to go into the landfill. However, one should always strike a balance between helping the environment and safeguarding one’s health.
Re-using old soda bottles as drinking water containers is a major no-no. According to the National Resources Defense Council, doing this can introduce bacteria, and also leach plastic compounds into the water you ingest, which is harmful to health.
The most common type of plastic used for soda and water bottles is called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). If you look at the bottom part of the bottle, and you see the label 1, that means it is made with PET. Other types of plastic like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with label 2, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with label 4, and polypropylene with label 5 are also used but not as frequently as PET.
Any type of these plastics, when reused, expose water to high levels of bacteria. The moist environment inside the bottle is also an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. Water bottles can be washed using warm and soapy water but should be dried thoroughly before being reused. This can tone down the count of bacteria inside.
However, there is still the danger of chemicals leaching into the water. And the process of washing can also damage the bottle structure. This will release the chemical compounds into the water. Studies have shown that PET plastics leach over time, even more quickly when they are exposed heat, sunlight and storage.
Chemicals in the plastic bottles, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, can increase risk of reproductive problems, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Stainless steel bottles and aluminum bottles are better to reuse as water containers. For the soda bottles, meanwhile, you can reuse them in other ways. Here’s an amazing way to recycle old soda and bottles, and use them to prettify your garden or home.