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May 15, 2009 10:34 PM

Reusing plastic water bottles

I know lots of sources say don't reuse/refill plastic water bottles because something in them leaches out into the water and is carcinogenic. My question is, if that's the case, why doesn't it leach out into the water that originally came in them in the first place? Is it because tap water has chemicals in it like chlorine and flouride that causes this to happen? And if it is, then why doesn't it happen to Dasani which says on the label that it's municipal water enhanced with minerals for taste. My water is from our private well, is untreated, and was just tested and passed with flying colors last October and tastes great. Can anybody enlighten me?

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  1. The short answer is, it's an urban legend:

    The longer answer is that it's better not to keep reusing those bottles because they are difficult to clean. (and that according to the Snopes article, there are SOME kinds of plastic that may be of concern) Better to buy a bottle that is meant to be reused and fill it up with your own very good water!

    1 Reply
    1. re: theredmenace

      Thanks for the link. Should have known it was addressed on Snopes. I have only one bottle that I've been reusing because it fits so nicely in the fancy brocade insulated carrier I made. It gets scrubbed with a bottle brush and allowed to dry completely in between uses but I have been on the lookout for a sturdier permanent version.

    2. As we near into the summer......I reuse old plastic bottles by freezing water in them and using the frozen bottles as the coolant for my cooler which I keep in the car for when I shop for perishables or to keep other beverages cold.

      1. The argument about not reusing the bottles is probably spread by the bottlers. (Just as the superstition about not opening umbrellas in the house was probably spread by manufacturers who wanted them to get all moldy and disintegrate…) Anyway crackpot conspiracy theories aside, I reuse bottles constantly. I actually justify the cost of buying a bottle of water by viewing it as buying a temporary canteen. Of course as theredmenace points out, they’re a pain to wash, so after a couple of weeks they get tossed but that’s due to the threat of scum (the green menace!), not plastic contamination.

        4 Replies
        1. re: extrasalty

          A dilute bleach solution swished around, then a few rinsings, will take care of the algae!

          1. re: greygarious

            The cheapskate in me likes this, but doesn't the bleach degrade the plastic?

            1. re: extrasalty

              Not any of the ones I've used - and it's sold in plastic jugs, after all. I hope when you "toss" the bottles it's into the recycling bin!

        2. We re-use the same bottles, filled with common tap water, until they start looking ratty, and then we throw them out. No one in our house has gotten sick, or fallen over with cancer or brain worms.
          I drink out of the garden hose in the summertime (even though the state of California warns me not to, even though I'm living in Kansas). And sometimes I eat hamburgers cooked medium or less, JUST for the thrill.
          I never get sick, I have to fake illnesses just to get a day off from work...but I'm sure it'll all catch up with me one day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: podunkboy

            I refill them with tap water, refrigerate it, and pretend I'm drinking mineral water.

          2. I get them every now and then, and suffer the tasteless bottled water in order to have the container for travelling. My SO always takes on on tour with him, and always comes back without it, so we have random brand and sizes of bottles hanging around. He saved the last to large Club Soda bottles for our next road trip. Very easy to rinse, and pretty sturdy plastic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tracylee

              Before retiring I was a mail carrier. I once spent a ridiculous amount of money for a 6-pack of Fiji Water because the rectangular shape and height were perfect for use in my small-size lunch cooler. They gave me a maximum volume of ice with out creating unusable space around the bottle's perimeter. I refilled and froze a bottle daily, so it served as an ice pack which I would then drink. I had a larger water jug in the truck, from which I'd refill the melting Fiji ice water so I'd have cold water to drink throughout the day. Interestingly, the original Fiji water, which WAS good-tasting in a way I can't quite describe, did not fully freeze. No matter how long I kept the bottle in the freezer, the center was still liquid. .