Save health, save planet

The Dangers of Reusing Water Bottles: Can It Make You Sick?

In this blog post, we will discuss the potential health risks associated with reusing plastic water bottles. These bottles can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, making you sick. However, there is a solution: copper water bottles. These bottles are naturally anti-microbial and self-sterilising, making them a safer and healthier option. Let's dive into the details.


Reusable water bottles are becoming increasingly popular due to their practicality and sustainability. Not only do they help reduce plastic waste, but they also keep us hydrated throughout the day, whether we're working out, travelling, or simply running errands. With so many stylish and functional options available, it's easy to find a reusable water bottle that fits our needs and personal style. Plus, by investing in a reusable water bottle, we can save money and feel good about our efforts to protect the environment.

Reusable water bottle

If you're an environmentally conscious individual, you're likely aware of the devastating impact disposable plastic water bottles can have on the planet. These bottles often end up in landfills and contribute to the growing problem of plastic waste. In fact, studies have shown that an alarming 50 billion plastic water bottles are thrown away each year. Using a reusable water bottle is a simple way to reduce your environmental footprint and help preserve the planet for future generations. By making a small change in your daily routine, you can make a big difference in the fight against plastic pollution.

In addition to the negative impact that plastic bottles have on our environment, the recycling rate for plastic bottles is alarmingly low, with only one in five being recycled on average. To make matters worse, plastic bottles take hundreds of years to decompose, causing lasting damage to our planet. What's more, the production process of plastic bottles requires an excessive amount of water, three times more than what is needed to fill the bottle. These facts underscore the urgent need to reduce our reliance on plastic and adopt more sustainable alternatives.

The impact of plastic waste on the environment is staggering. In the United States alone, people open an average of 1,500 plastic bottles per second, which contributes significantly to the plastic waste crisis. Moreover, plastic water bottles constitute a major portion of the plastic waste in oceans, with an estimated 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste currently floating in the ocean. These alarming statistics highlight the urgent need to address plastic pollution and promote sustainable practices to protect our planet's fragile ecosystems.

Reusable water bottles not only benefit the environment, but they are also much more cost-effective than disposable water bottles. According to Earth Day, the average American purchases over 160 plastic water bottles each year, resulting in a cost of more than $200 annually. By opting for a reusable water bottle, one can save thousands of dollars over time. Additionally, the production and transportation of disposable water bottles require significant amounts of resources, adding to their environmental impact. Therefore, investing in a reusable water bottle is a simple yet impactful step towards reducing waste and saving money.

Although reusable water bottles are a popular choice for environmentally conscious individuals, it's important to be aware of the potential health risks they may pose. The moisture and reusable nature of these bottles can create an ideal environment for the growth of harmful bacteria. If not cleaned properly, these bacteria can multiply and pose a risk to human health. It's crucial to regularly clean and maintain your reusable water bottle to avoid any potential health hazards.

In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of bacteria proliferation in reusable water bottles and the measures one can take to use them safely. It is common knowledge that reusable water bottles can harbor bacteria due to their moist environment and inadequate cleaning. We will provide tips on how to maintain the cleanliness of your water bottle and minimise the risk of bacterial growth. Additionally, we will explore the natural self-sterilising properties of copper, which make copper water bottles an excellent option for those concerned about bacteria growth in their water bottles.

The World of Microbes: An Introduction to Bacteria 

Bacteria are microscopic single-celled organisms that can be found almost everywhere on Earth. They can exist as individual cells or in colonies and play an essential role in many ecosystems, including the human body. Bacteria can thrive in a wide range of environments and can reproduce rapidly under favourable conditions. To avoid the growth of bacteria in our reusable water bottles, we must understand the conditions that promote their growth, such as warm and moist environments, and take steps to prevent them from proliferating.


Bacteria are microscopic organisms that can survive and thrive in various environments. They come in different shapes such as round, cylindrical, and spiral. Bacteria reproduce through binary fission, where a single cell duplicates its DNA and splits into two identical cells. To grow and multiply, bacteria require specific environmental conditions, including warmth, moisture, the right pH level, and oxygen. Understanding the environmental conditions that support bacterial growth is crucial in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria and maintaining a healthy environment.

While some bacteria can be highly beneficial to the human body, others can cause serious illnesses. For instance, lactobacilli are an example of helpful bacteria that aid in digestion. However, salmonella is an example of damaging bacteria that can cause food poisoning. It is important to maintain proper hygiene and food handling practices to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the body.

A recent study aimed to explore the bacterial growth in reusable water bottles used by athletes. Researchers collected swab tests from the bottles and identified the presence of both harmless and harmful bacteria. Bacillus and gram-positive rods were among the harmless bacteria that thrived in the bottles, while gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci, which can cause infections such as strep and staph, were found to be harmful. Some of these harmful bacteria were also resistant to antibiotics.

Protecting Your Health: Why Using Bacteria-Contaminated Water Bottles is a Risky Choice

Studies have indicated that reusable water bottles can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Failure to clean these bottles for a week or longer can lead to the growth of gram-negative rods and gram-positive cocci. When contaminated water is consumed from these bottles, it can result in various illnesses such as diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, and sepsis. Therefore, it is crucial to clean reusable water bottles regularly to prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria.

Several studies have been conducted to examine the connection between bottled water and pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium that can cause illnesses in plants, animals, and humans. One study analysed bottled water samples after being stored for up to 30 days and found a considerable increase in the size of the bacteria colonies. The research also revealed that the bacteria could proliferate at a much higher density than they would in other settings.

According to another study, pseudomonas was found to be the dominant bacteria in reusable water bottles, suggesting that outbreaks of diseases caused by bottled water are more likely due to contamination than the quality of the water source. The study lasted for eight months and tested eight different types of bottled drinking water, recovering nine types of pseudomonas from the bottles, including p. stutzeri and p. diminuta, both of which are harmful bacteria.

Stop the Spread: Preventing Bacterial Contamination in your Environment

To minimise your exposure to contaminated water caused by bacteria, it's crucial to use a water bottle made from a material that is resistant to bacteria growth. Copper is one such material that is highly effective in preventing the growth of bacteria in water bottles. In contrast, other materials like plastic, glass, steel, and other metals are not as effective at preventing bacteria growth. Therefore, choosing a copper water bottle is the best way to ensure that you have access to clean and safe drinking water while minimising your exposure to harmful bacteria.


Plastic is a commonly used material for making reusable water bottles due to its affordability, but it's important to ensure that the bottle is BPA-free to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals linked to fatal illnesses like cancer. High-density polyethylene (HDPE #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE #4), and polypropylene (PP #5) are the safest plastic materials for water bottles, but they are less durable and can retain odours and stains. Plastic bottles are also known to harbour bacteria, making them less desirable. The environmental impact of plastic water bottles should be a consideration when choosing alternative options.


Water bottles made from copper are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to disinfect and purify water. Copper has been used for this purpose since ancient times, and studies have shown that copper bottles actively kill bacteria through a process called the oligodynamic effect. In a recent study, water samples inoculated with e. coli, salmonella typhi and vibrio cholerae stored overnight in a copper vessel at room temperature showed no trace of the bacteria the following day. In contrast, water stored in control glass bottles under the same conditions allowed the bacteria to grow and flourish. Copper water bottles also have additional health benefits, including creating natural alkaline water.


Glass is a common material used for making reusable bottles, but it may not be the most practical choice for those looking to travel light. While glass bottles can retain the natural taste of water, they can shatter easily when dropped and are not the best choice for avoiding the growth of bacteria. A recent study found that bacteria can multiply easily on the surface and inside the water stored in glass containers, resulting in excessive bacterial growth compared to water in natural conditions. Therefore, glass bottles may not be the most hygienic option for storing water.

Stainless Steel and Aluminum

Stainless steel and aluminium are two common materials used to make water bottles. While stainless steel bottles are lightweight and durable, they can be vulnerable to bacterial attachment and unpleasant odours. Aluminium bottles are shock-proof and resist odour formation, but can poorly insulate liquids and may contain BPA in their epoxy lining. Both materials can be reactive with acidic substances and may leach trace amounts of metals into the water, including potentially harmful levels of toxic trace metals like antimony and thallium. It's important to carefully consider the materials used in your water bottle and choose a bottle that meets your needs and safety standards.

Keeping Your Water Bottle Clean and Hygienic

It's essential to regularly clean your water bottle, regardless of its material. Even if you use a copper water bottle, which has natural self-sterilising properties, you still shouldn't leave it uncleaned for days. To maintain good hygiene, it's recommended to wash your water bottle with soap and water daily. If your bottle has a narrow mouth, you can use a brush to clean its interior thoroughly. For ease of cleaning, consider using a water bottle with a wider mouth.

The authors of this article are a team of experienced researchers and writers who have collaborated to provide comprehensive and accurate information based on all available scientific studies and relevant literature. The team includes a qualified medical professional who brings expertise in the medical field. It is important to note that the information presented in this article is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Readers are encouraged to seek the guidance of a qualified medical professional for any questions or concerns related to their health.

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