One of the first things I learned when I became pregnant back in 2008 were the dangers of plastic bottles. Back then, BPA-free bottles weren’t as commonplace as they now are and the dangers of plastic and BPA were still up for debate. I opted for glass baby bottles just to be safe and now that almost all baby bottles are BPA-free, I’m glad I did.
The fact of the matter is, plastic bottles aren’t good–for people or for the environment. When I see people drinking from plastic water bottles, I always have to stop myself from screaming at the top of my lungs, “Do you know what that bottle is made from? Do you know what it could do to you?” I don’t want to come across as preachy, but I think it’s so important that people know what they’re putting in their bodies. So instead of guilting everyone I see using a plastic bottle, I reached out to my friends at bkr to explain just why plastic is so bad. Read on and get your trash bag ready–those plastic bottles are going in the garbage after you read this!
SHEfinds: You created bkr because plastic isn’t good–can you help people understand exactly why plastic is bad?
bkr: Yes, it’s bad. Where do we even start!
Most people have heard of BPA–a plastic hardener, a synthetic estrogen, and a frankly terrifying chemical found in plastic water bottles. It’s an endocrine disrupter that leaches from plastic into our food and drinks. It’s been linked to a ton of health problems including an increased risk of cancer, obesity, early onset puberty, and diabetes. Basically it’s making us sick and fat. It’s also been shown to affect fertility–and brain and behavioral development in children.
Around 95 percent of Americans would likely test positive for BPA and if you only drink from polycarbonate bottles for a week your BPA levels will increase by around 65 percent. Sometimes people hear that and argue their water bottle is BPA-free, but Kate and I know too much. There are many BPA-free plastics that instead contain BPS, BPF or other similarly terrifying substitutes to BPA that are sometimes even worse than BPA. Plastic is in many cases necessary and unavoidable, but you don’t have to marinate your water in it. So don’t.
SF: Is all plastic bad? For example, is a single use plastic water bottle just as bad as a reusable plastic bottle?
bkr: The type of plastic that typically is used to make disposable water bottles is called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a petroleum-based material which may or may not leach DEHA and phthalates–known carcinogens–into the water. It also may or may not leach antimony, a trace metal that is necessary for the manufacture of PET and is
linked to lung, heart and gastrointestinal diseases. And if you reuse disposable water bottles, the bacteria that settles in the cracks and scratches of the porous plastic might even pose a greater health risk than the unknown leaching risk.
The environmental impact of disposed plastic is also tremendous. Forget about the fact that we’re using an insane amount of fuel to move water from countries that in some cases don’t have clean water to countries where clean water already flows freely right from the tap. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. Most of it ends up in landfill where it never really goes away. Eight million metric tons of plastic waste gets into the world’s oceans each year–and it’s impractical and impossible to fully clean once it’s in the ocean. With this, we just can’t even.
SF: There have been rumors that people shouldn’t drink water that’s been in plastic bottles in a warm place, like a car on a summer day for example–any truth to that?
bkr: Water that’s been stored in plastic in temperatures hotter than room temperature can degrade and release toxic chemicals into your water. And let’s be real, who knows what temperature your water’s been stored at when it’s trucked across cities, states and the world? We saw flats and flats of water out in the scorching sun in a supermarket parking lot once and it beyond scared us. Why take that risk?
SF: Why is glass superior to plastic?
bkr: Glass is better, in every way. It’s better for your body and the earth. It’s chemically inert; it doesn’t alter the taste of its contents and doesn’t allow any unsafe chemicals to leach and make you sick. And it’s a fully recyclable material: it can be recycled endlessly, and recovered glass is used as the majority ingredient in new glass containers. Without question, everything tastes better out of glass.
You can buy a single year’s worth of disposable plastic water bottles–or you can save thousands of dollars and buy bkr bottles instead that you’ll love and adore and use to death. The money you’re spending on plastic can be better spent on things that make you feel amazing like Louboutins and massages. Less is really more.
SF: You’ve been making glass bottles for a while now–what made the lightbulb go off for you all those years back about eliminating plastic water bottles from your life?
bkr: We’re intelligent, fashionable, educated and cultured. We shouldn’t drink from trash. That was the lightbulb moment for us. We know better. We’re all about having less things in our lives and having only the things we love. And after all these years we’re still addicted as ever to our bkrs. We’ve got a very strong cult following of the uber chic who now drink far more water than ever before and buy way less plastic.
Be sure to check out the one thing you should never do when doing crunches and Nordstrom’s sweet fall sale.