Plastic Bottled Water in the Workplace and at Home

I’ve decided to strongly discourage the use of bottled water in our workplace. We’ve recently completed the build out of our office space in Redmond and instead of using those huge 5 gallon containers of water from Sparkletts or Arrowhead we installed a filtered water system. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about bottled water and I’m convinced enough that drinking water from plastic bottles is not the most healthy thing to do. Firstly, regarding the large 5 gallon containers of water, those huge containers are made of polycarbonate. An article in Science Daily, discusses “Plastic Bottles Release Potentially Harmful Chemicals (Bisphenol A) after contact with hot liquids”. Companies that provide those huge 5 gallon containers reuse those bottles 40-50 times. I don’t know whether it is healthy or not to re-use those containers, but why take the chance?

The other thing that the article states is that “Previous studies have shown that if you repeatedly scrub, dish-wash and boil polycarbonate baby bottles, they release BPA (Bisphenol-A)”. This was a concern to us because we warm up our bottles with near boiling hot water, we microwave the bottles to clean them, and we scrub and wash the bottles. We recently got rid of all our Dr. Brown baby bottles and replaced them with Green To Grow baby bottles. These bottles are Bisphenol-A and Phthalate free plus they have a cute smiley face on them. There’s no way on earth I’m going consciously expose my babies to something that might be harmful to them. The Green To Grow bottles are about 2x more expensive, but it just isn’t worth the risk to save a few bucks.

The other area that my wife and I have completely stopped using is Kirkland bottled water. We used to buy cases of this stuff at Costco. Since we started to “green” our lives we’ve decided to do away with the disposable use-it-once lifestyle. There are so many articles out there that talk about the billions of bottled water containers that are going into the landfill. A noteable article to read is in E Magazine called “Bottled Water Backlash”.  The other really disturbing story that most people have heard about is the gigantic floating mass of trash (3 million tons and about twice the size of Texas) which is floating somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. If that doesn’t make one concerned or worried I don’t know what else could convince you to make a lifestyle change.

The other thing that we have rid our home of is plastic re-usable water bottles. I used to use those all the time too. Re-using plastic bottles can also leech out harmful Bisphenol A. You have to really start checking what kind of plastic your bottles are made of. Not all of them are safe. Some are ok to use once but they are not safe to re-use. Kind of confusing and takes a lot of research to figure out all those different plastic codes. My wife brought home a new container for me. It’s a SIGG, Swiss Water Bottle. It’s manufactured in an eco-friendly environment and is 100% recyclable. The company has a strong commitment to sustainability and makes an attractive product.

All this said, I’m focused on making sure that our company works in a more sustainable work environment that is healthier for my employees, tenants, and the environment.

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5 Comments

  1. Kathy Thomas said,

    June 2, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Yes, I stopped buying plastic water bottles when I learned, ahead of the curve, how bad they are for everyone and the planet. I found that Nikken was the maker of the best water filter and oxygen optimizer on the planet. And I’ve been drinking only that water ever since. And so do my children. The filters are affordable and I highly recommend them. You can learn more through my website.

  2. asad123 said,

    June 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Do you have any thoughts on filters like Brita or PUR? You definitely avoid the plastic of water bottles but I know that replacing filter cartridges can be costly. Also, I don’t know about others but I know it’s hard for me to keep track of when I’ve replaced the filters.

  3. Leaming said,

    June 3, 2008 at 6:40 am

    I had told my colleague about your green to grow bottles as she is having a baby soon! So I was able to show her here. As soon as she saw them, her face lit up. She just liked the way they looked!

  4. Peter Chee said,

    June 3, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Asad123, I use a Brita at home. I looked at PUR in the past, but my wife prefers the Brita. I was thinking about the schedule for replacing the filter as well. For the office, that is handled by the maintenance/service person. For home, we have a little monitor on top of the Brita that tells us when to replace the filter.

  5. Anna said,

    June 11, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    I forwarded your blog to my sister Sally, who is greening the San Jose school district- a lot of institutional measures mimic the stuff you’re doing with thinkspace, it sounds like. Great blog! So glad you got in contact, I’m enjoying these posts, too.


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